The Managed Forest Law Program (MFL) administered by the State of Wisconsin allows forest owners to defer a part of their property taxes while following an agreed upon management plan. To be eligible for MFL, the property must be at least 10 acres, and at least 80% of your acreage must be productive forest land. The contract period can be either 25 or 50 years, and if the land is sold during that time, the new owner has a choice: honor the contract or withdraw from the program and pay back taxes at current rates.
Managed Forest Law requires landowners to prepare a forest management plan with a “Certified Plan Writer” or a DNR Forester. The plan is based on sustainable forest management practices, with a main focus on timber production. There are some fees associated with the program.
A management plan is an essential starting point for land stewardship, but the implementation of the recommended actions is even more important. Below are some examples of how forest management can help improve the health of your land and increase its production value.
Forest Stewardship Plans
A Forest Stewardship Plan is essential to fully appreciating, understanding, and utilizing your woodland property. For the first time landowner, plans are invaluable educational documents explaining the existing resource, how to care for the land, and the land-use and income potential of the property. For the seasoned landowner, stewardship plans can unlock the investment and ecological potential of a property. For a family, a stewardship plan can provide generations of enjoyment and rewards from land ownership.
Quality stewardship plans evaluate the landowner's property from an ecological perspective and include detailed analysis and planning for the timber resource, bio diversity, ecosystem health, and aesthetic beauty. Plans should meet the highest standards of sustainable forestry as set by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and qualify a property for FSC Certification and government assistance programs.
Many stewardship plans will recommend a timber harvest at some point, whether it be a timber stand improvement harvest, a thinning, or a sustainable harvest of crop trees. For the landowner's objectives to be met, plans should include timber sale design and layout, tree marking, marketing of timber sales, and timber sale administration. Loggers should be evaluated to ensure that the operator is properly trained, has the right equipment, is well recommended, and is sensitive to the objectives of the landowner.
It can be be difficult to navigate the government cost-sharing programs available to private landowners in order to access thousands of dollars for tree planting. Please email us to find out about what technical assistance and advice for landowners we can provide.
Most of NW Wisconsin's forests have been simplified from the original species mix through heavy logging followed by fires and in some cases grazing or agriculture. Consulting ecologists can help landowners restore their property to a more natural condition by designing and implementing plantings of native plants, including silvicultural practices that convert aspen to conifers and long-lived hardwoods.
Landowners can work with professionals to use fire as a forest management tool. Qualified foresters can help landowners identify fire hazards on their land and work to increase fire survivability for structures and the forest.
Nuisance Plant Control
Exotic, invasive and nuisance plants are moving their way north into our area. Professional foresters can help landowners identify exotic invaders and eradicate them before they become a problem.