New project initiated through the Wisconsin Forest Practices Study

The Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association and Wisconsin County Forests Association are addressing information gaps about costs and benefits of changing forest policy in Wisconsin through a project known as the Wisconsin Forest Practices Study (WFPS). NCASI is assisting with administration of WFPS research activities.

A new project initiated as part of the WFPS will include an analysis of two forest management practices, single tree selection order-of-removal procedures in northern hardwood forests and rotation lengths in red pine plantations and aspen forests. The project will evaluate the potential economic and ecological effects through the supply chain of following these commonly used harvest guidelines on private lands enrolled in Wisconsin’s forest tax law programs and on certain public state and county forestlands.

The Wisconsin Silviculture Handbook asks mangers, when deciding whether to mark a tree for harvest, to consider the following factors in this order: future mortality or failure should the tree not be harvested, the need to release crop trees, crown vigor, stem form and quality, tree species, and spacing. This “order-of-removal” guidance is often applied by foresters marking northern hardwood stands.  This study will sample northern hardwood forest stands that have been marked using these guidelines but have not yet been harvested.  Future stand conditions will then be modeled based on the residual forest that would result from harvest of the marked trees as well as residual forest conditions that would result from harvests based on alternative marking scenarios.

The study will also research the potential effects of the Wisconsin forest tax law silvicultural guidelines relating to rotation age recommendations for even-aged management of aspen and red pine forest types. The analysis will include several simulations modeling varied rotation lengths and optimization scenarios. Implications of these forest management harvest guidelines and modeled scenarios will be examined as they relate to wood supply, landowner and supply chain economic factors, timber sale viability, and ecological considerations.

The project will be led by Steigerwaldt Land Services, Inc., partnered with James W. Sewall Company for select portions of the study. A team of three expert project advisors will also be involved: Dr. Volker Radeloff, Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology; Terry Strong, retired USDA-USFS research forester and consulting forester; and Kevin Burns, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources.

More information about the WFPS, including this new project, is available at http://study.wisconsinforestry.org. Questions and requests for additional information may also be directed to Fred Souba, WFPS Project Manager.  

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