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Woodland Stewardship

Who can be a woodland steward?

Every landowner can be a 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. No matter the size of your land or the nature of your ownership, active stewardship can make a huge impact.

How do I become a good woodland steward?

Becoming a woodland steward 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. Keep reading for more details on how to get started! 


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. 

Woodland stewardship plan

Learn About Your Woods

Download our My St. Croix Woods fact sheets or contact us for more detailed information.

Owning and Managing your Woodland

Get started on the basics of woodland ownership with this introductory fact sheet. Learn more about the importance of establishing your boundaries, knowing your liability, understanding your taxes, and planning for the future.


Keeping your Woods Healthy

This fact sheet will get you started on understanding your trees, soil and forest ecosystem, and what to consider when planning your management approach. Want to create or maintain a healthy habitat for wildlife? This fact sheet will also help you get started on creating healthy wildlife habitat in your woodlands.


Your Woods, Your Waters

Healthy forests mean healthy waters. Learn more about how your trees make a difference for the entire St. Croix watershed and what you can do protect water quality on your land.

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Financing your Forest

Financing management of your woodlands can be a tricky hurdle to overcome. Learn about some of the cost-share, tax relief, and conservation easement programs available to woodland owners in the St. Croix region, and which ones might be best for you.

Signing a Contract

Timber Harvests & Forest Income

Harvesting your timber can be a great way to improve the health of your forest, earn a profit, and support your local economy. That being said, it can also be an overwhelming task to take on and plan. This fact sheet will help to start thinking about whether you should harvest, understand what to expect from your forester and loggers, and provide an overview of the process of selling your timber. You can also learn about some alternative ways to profit from your woods, like harvesting and marketing non-timber forest products or leasing out hunting and recreation permits.

Permanent Land Protection 

As a landowner in the St. Croix watershed, it is extremely important to think about and plan for the future of your woodland property. Consider permanent land protection to ensure that your land stays natural and beneficial to the environment!

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Woodland Stewardship Plans

A Woodland Stewardship Plan is a
type of comprehensive management
guide for your woodland. The plan
combines your goals, the
characteristics of your woods and the
unique features of your land into one
implementable document. Most plans
are written for a 10 year period to
allow for long term planning, and are written by an approved forester trained
in woodland stewardship.

Learn about your woods

Climate Change and Your Forest

Climate change is an ongoing process that is affecting the entire planet – including the St. Croix Watershed. To preserve our wonderful natural resources, it is of the utmost importance to recognize the threat of climate change and take action to prepare for it. Learn more about what you can do for your land in the face of cliamte change below.

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