A Woodland Stewardship Plan is a must of every owner of 20 or more wooded acres—and it’s very affordable! That is why 80% of MFA members already have a plan.
What is a Woodland Stewardship Plan?
Have you ever walked through your woods and wanted to know more about the timber, soils, and wildlife on your site? Do you ever wonder exactly how your habitats function or how their components can be managed for maximum benefits? Whether you crave trails for cross-country skiing, more habitat for warblers or white-tailed deer, or products from pine thinnings, a Woodland Stewardship Plan is for you.
Why a Woodland Stewardship Plan?
Your woodland contains a wide variety of plants and animals. Your management decisions affect this environment for decades to come. A Woodland Stewardship Plan helps you plan for the future condition of your woodlands. Everyone benefits from a range of healthy, intact habitats across the state regardless of their ownership.
The Woodland Stewardship Plan describes your goals and the resources on your land and then recommends management options such as:
- Enhancing habitat for wildlife species.
- Maintaining ecological diversity.
- Planting trees.
- Building trails.
- Pruning high-value trees.
- Harvesting timber
These recommendations are built around your initial stated goals and the natural capacity of your land.
Landowners have different goals for their woods. A Woodland Stewardship Plan is a good way to focus those goals.
If you own between 20 and 1,000 acres of land and at least 10 of your acres are wooded, you qualify for a plan. Corporations whose stocks are not publicly traded also qualify.
Who Writes the Plan?
A natural resource professional who has been qualified to write Woodland Stewardship Plans will conduct a field inventory, assess specific land factors, and do other work to complete your plan with input from you. You’ll specify land ownership goals.
What Will My Plan Look Like?
The plan provides a comprehensive, thorough overview of your land. It includes an aerial photo, a map of the types of timber and plant communities you have, and additional information about the vegetative cover. Your map may look like a quilt, weaving together habitats such as aspen-birch, northern hardwoods, lowland brush, etc. Additional information often reveals information about your land that you didn’t know, such as the location of a raptor nest or the total acres of red pine versus sugar maple.
Based on your family’s desires and needs, your plan will describe a long-term future goal for each of the different habitats of your land. It also will suggest activities you can do to meet those goals while maintaining a healthy and productive woodland ecosystem.
How do I Start?
Call or visit your nearest DNR Forestry Office. Plans are written on a first come, first served basis. A DNR forester, or a private professional forester under contract to DNR, will be assigned to write your plan. In addition to a forester, a wildlife manager, recreation specialist or soil conservationist could be involved in your woodland evaluation.
What do I do With My Plan?
After you have your completed Woodland Stewardship Plan, you may need further technical or financial assistance to implement your goals and the plan’s recommendations. Your plan preparer or other natural resource manager can help you take the next step, whether it’s ordering trees, setting up a timber sale, suggesting appropriate contractors, or helping your find more information.
The plan preparer can also help get you information about any cost-share programs that may be available. Some of these programs can provide funds for wildlife habitat improvement or to control soil erosion, for example. These programs vary year to year, depending on state and federal appropriations and priorities.