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Wisconsin's Forest Action Plan.
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Contact information
If you have questions, contact:
Kristen Tomaszewski
608-266-5202

Statewide Forest Action Plan Part 2: StrategyTheme B: Forest composition and structure

The goals, strategies and actions below describe possible steps to address the issues that have the potential to significantly impact Wisconsin’s forests. You can also read detailed descriptions [PDF] about the goals and strategies on this page.

F. Improve all forest communities and increase in quality and extent forest communities that are under-represented

11. Strategy: Encourage the management of under-represented forest communities.

Possible actions:

  • 11.1. Locate under-represented forest communities by ecological landscape and develop a process to define the viable level of under-represented communities.
  • 11.2. Provide incentives to landowners who manage under-represented forest communities in appropriate areas identified in the Wildlife Action Plan's Conservation Opportunity Areas.

12. Strategy: Improve all forested communities with a landscape management approach that considers the representation of all successional stages.

Possible actions:

  • 12.1. At the ecological landscape scale, identify, develop guidelines and manage appropriate blend of early, mid and late successional stages.

13. Strategy: Increase forest structure and diversity.

Possible actions:

  • 13.1. Encourage landowners and forest managers to include management for coarse woody debris, large trees, snags/cavity trees and, where appropriate, the restoration and protection of ephemeral ponds.
  • 13.2. Develop science-based guidance on forest structural components.
  • 13.3. Monitor the results of increased forest structure.
  • 13.4. Encourage landowners and forest managers to follow appropriate regeneration techniques for timber types that require uneven aged management.

14. Strategy: Encourage the use of disturbance mechanisms to maintain diverse forest communities.

Possible actions:

  • 14.1. Encourage a multi-agency and landowner prescribed burn team that promotes burning where appropriate across ownerships.
  • 14.2. Provide incentives to landowners that allow disturbance for regeneration and forest community maintenance in appropriate areas identified in the Wildlife Action Plan's Conservation Opportunity Areas.
  • 14.3. Promote under-represented forest communities on public lands.
  • 14.4. Develop natural range of variation models for Wisconsin forest types.
  • 14.5. Encourage the training and participation of local fire departments in prescribed burning.
  • 14.6. Where approaches are lacking to regenerate less common forest types (e.g. lowland white cedar), encourage landowners to not conduct practices that may not maintain the species/forest type on the landscape.
G. More forest land is being managed and protected under landscape scale plans or consistent with landscape scale considerations

15. Strategy: Maintain the appropriate forest types for the ecological landscape while protecting forest health and function.

Possible actions:

  • 15.1. Develop forest management guidelines at the landscape level that incorporate the Wildlife Action Plan and Ecological Landscapes Handbook (and others as appropriate).
  • 15.2. Develop incentives for forest owners to manage based on ecological landscape goals.
  • 15.3. Communicate ecological landscape goals to audiences ranging from the public to professional foresters.

16. Strategy: Encourage multi-state landscape scale planning.

Possible actions:

  • 16.1. Establish a process that facilitates conversation and development of regional forest management guidelines between regional forest stakeholders.
H. Deer populations are managed to protect and enhance forest ecosystem functions while considering the full balance of potential impacts

17. Strategy: Increase scientific knowledge needed to understand the economic, ecological and social impacts of various deer populations (and associated deer herbivory) on forests.

Possible actions:

  • 17.1. Conduct studies that determine the impacts of deer herbivory at different population levels.
  • 17.2. Develop readily-measurable indices for determining the impact of deer in forests by utilizing existing inventory systems (e.g. FIA, CFI, etc.)
  • 17.3. Invest in economic analysis expertise that can study the economic impacts of deer related to forests.
  • 17.4. Communicate applicable science to stakeholder groups regarding the impact of deer herbivory on Wisconsin forests through laymen publications workshops, etc.

18. Strategy: Encourage the forestry community to be engaged in deer management issues with an understanding of the long term significance of deer impacts on sustainable forestry.

Possible actions:

  • 18.1. Identify the forest based interest groups that should be included in wider deer density discussions.
  • 18.2. Institute a multi-stakeholder, forestry advisory group that advises the Natural Resource Board, legislature and various publics focused on understanding and providing a forestry perspective on deer impacts to the forest.

19. Strategy: Adapt forest management practices to sustainably manage forests with locally high deer populations.

Possible actions:

  • 19.1. Identify applied forest management alternatives at the stand level in light of high deer populations (fencing, deer repellents, etc.).
  • 19.2. Decrease practices that enhance deer habitat where necessary and appropriate (e.g., edge, food plots, baiting and feeding).
  • 19.3. Allow for permits to shoot deer that have caused forest damage similar to permits for damage to agricultural crops.
  • 19.4. Develop practices that will tolerate or prevent damage from deer.
  • 19.5. Improve incentives for landowners to use deer abatement measures (e.g., fencing).
I. Urban forests are more species diverse with greater tree canopy

20. Strategy: Characterize and assess urban and community forests.

Possible actions:

  • 20.1. Establish a statewide continuous urban forest inventory and assessment designed to characterize Wisconsin’s urban forests (e.g. composition, structure, cover type, habitat, threatened species and invasives), quantify ecological, economic and social benefits, monitor trends and evaluate success of management strategies.
  • 20.2. Evaluate urban forestry inventory data to identify and prioritize management strategies to address priority outcomes.
  • 20.3. Establish inventory and assessment tools for local municipalities that direct and prioritize urban tree management decisions.

21. Strategy: Expand and manage a diverse urban tree canopy cover to provide multiple public benefits.

Possible actions:

  • 21.1. Plant a wide diversity of appropriate tree species in urban areas that will increase the social, ecological and economic benefits from urban forests by creating jobs through "green infrastructure," promote energy conservation, prevent stormwater run-off, mitigate the effects of air pollution, sequester carbon, improve habitat for resident and migrant wildlife and improve the quality of life for human inhabitants.
  • 21.2. Develop a wide variety of age and size class structures in the urban forest.
  • 21.3. Protect and care for the new and existing public and private tree canopy to maintain and expand benefits as trees grow over time.
  • 21.4. Develop guidelines and support tools to help public and private land owner’s plant and maintain their urban tree canopy.
  • 21.5. Approve tree planting by municipalities as a credit towards NR151 in reducing stormwater runoff.
  • 21.6. Include tree planting as a part of all state road projects in urban areas.
  • 21.7. Plant abandoned urban brownfields and establish corridors between urban tracts.
  • 21.8. Businesses (nurseries and retail) and agencies communicate on species composition and availability.
  • 21.9. Develop a template for tree preservation during road construction projects in urban areas.
J. The spectrum of native and exotic invasive species is being addressed to minimize loss of forested ecosystem function

22. Strategy: Strive to prevent infestations of invasive species before they arrive.

Possible actions:

  • 22.1. Work in public/private partnerships to conduct species risk assessments and identify priority invasive species for regulatory action consistent with NR40 (current examples include emerald ash borer, gypsy moth and beech bark disease).
  • 22.2. Partner inside and outside the state to educate and build awareness of invasive species and their threat at all levels and jurisdictions.
  • 22.3. Develop a statewide database and inventory of the locations of invasive species in Wisconsin.
  • 22.4. Reduce susceptibility to invasive species in native and urban forests by increasing species diversity and managing to reduce other stressors to improve resilience against infestation.
  • 22.5. Promote utilization by land managers of the BMPs for invasive species.
  • 22.6. Enforcement of laws related to the transport and introduction of invasive species.
  • 22.7. Based on risk assessment, implement BMPs for preventing infestation with prohibited species and protecting priority areas.

23. Strategy: Work to detect new infestations early and respond rapidly to minimize impacts to forests.

Possible actions:

  • 23.1. Establish guidelines and criteria for responding to new introductions of invasive species and applying the best and most current information toward preventing their spread.
  • 23.2. Working with partners, develop rapid response incident teams that cross jurisdictional lines and respond quickly to invasive species outbreaks (e.g. Partner with Cooperative Weed Management Areas where they exist and encourage formation of CWMAs throughout the state).
  • 23.3. Develop citizen-based monitoring opportunities.

24. Strategy: Control and management of existing infestations.

Possible actions:

  • 24.1. Complete the comprehensive inventory and mapping of all priority invasives in forests.
  • 24.2. Conduct a comprehensive risk assessment based on existing information for the purpose of identifying priority species and areas of focus.
  • 24.3. Focus resources on priority species control, in priority areas, as identified through risk assessments.
  • 24.4. Develop and implement biological, cultural, chemical and physical controls for priority species.
  • 24.5. Encourage development of a multi-agency and landowner invasive species control team that promotes the use of proven tools to control invasives.
  • 24.6. Provide technical and/or financial assistance to landowners who work to control and manage invasive species on their property and who rehabilitate and restore their forests.
  • 24.7. Implement forest management guidelines that minimize the impact of invasives to the ecological landscape. Management activities should focus on reducing the forest's susceptibility to mortality.
  • 24.8. Monitor long-term invasive species population trends and effectiveness treatments. Make this information readily available to all stakeholders.

25. Strategy: Rehabilitate, restore or adapt native forest habitats and ecosystems.

Possible actions:

  • 25.1. Learn from past success and failure: Compile, highlight and share information about existing restoration and rehabilitation successes about invasive species.
  • 25.2. Encourage and develop sources for native seed (based on ecological zone) for use in restoration projects.
  • 25.3. Tie incentive programs and cost-share to areas with the greatest threat or environmentally important areas such as Conservation Opportunity Areas identified in the Wildlife Action Plan.
Last revised: Monday October 05 2015