BECOME A WOODLAND STEWARD
Who can be a woodland steward?
Every landowner can be a good woodland steward. All it takes is a desire to do what is best for your woods, some thoughtful planning and a commitment to putting your management plans into action. Whether you own 5 acres or 500 acres, whether you have lived on your land for generations or are new to woodland ownership, whether you live and work on your land everyday or only visit a few times a year, active stewardship in your woods can make a huge impact.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD STEWARD?
Cares about their woodland
Thinks about their goals, priorities and vision for their woods
Has developed and followed a woodland stewardship or management plan
Considers forest health, soil and water quality, invasive species and wildlife habitat in management planning
Talks with family members and professionals about estate and legacy planning
How do I become a good steward?
Getting started on woodland stewardship is an exciting process and My St. Croix Woods is here to help! Developing a woodland stewardship or similar management plan is often the first step in becoming a good steward.
What is a woodland stewardship plan?
A woodland stewardship plan is a management plan written by an approved forester to guide activities on your land with your goals and the features of your woods in mind. In Minnesota, DNR approved Woodland Stewardship Plans can be written for woodlands 20 acres and larger and are required to enroll in tax incentive programs like SFIA and Classification 2c. In Wisconsin, Managed Forest Law plans serve a similar purpose. Woodland owners with less than 20 acres can have stewardship plans written for their land too, and while they will not qualify for tax relief programs, they can guide management practices for a healthy, productive forest.
Stewardship plans will include overview of your property and the different habitat types and natural resources present, outline your goals, and recommend and schedule activities and practices that should be carried out to achieve those goals. There is often a cost to having a plan written for you, but there are cost share programs available and, in many cases, the cost is returned over time through enrollment programs and improved forest quality. Stewardship plans can help to improve wildlife habitat and biodiversity, encourage forest growth and health, maximize timber quality and protect natural resources.
What happens after the plan is written?
Once you have a stewardship plan written, it is time to manage your woods. Your plan will help guide you on what practices will help you achieve your goals, and working with a forester and other natural resource professionals will help you to carry them out. Working with professionals will help ensure that management activities are completed with the best approaches for your goals and your forest's health.
You may also start to think about a longer term future for your land and the legacy you want to leave. Starting early and engaging your family and estate planning professionals will ensure that you establish a legacy of woodland stewardship and protect your forests for future generations.
Get started today!
Get started on your stewardship plan today by learning more about your woods and scheduling a site visit with an approved plan writer. Ready for the next step? Find natural resource professionals and service providers to carry out management activities or connect woodland owner peers to learn and share from each others' experiences. Check out all our tools and resources to help you learn, act and protect your woods.