Archived entries for sustainable forestry

Partners in Forestry Cooperative honored with Rod Nilsestuen Award for Working Lands Preservation

Partners in Forestry Cooperative (PIF) is a land owners’ cooperative that has been instrumental in the direct protection of thousands of acres of forestland in and around Vilas County. The organization has long been educating and informing legislators and landowners about the legal tools and benefits of sustainable forestry and conservation through tours, workshops, newsletters and direct networking since 2001.

Field Day under the red pine. “This Partners in Forestry field day was a community education effort to promote long-term forest management and conservation. Here, under a recently thinned red pine stand, a forestry staff explains to landowners and the public the benefits of thinning red pine in a timely fashion. The UW Center for Cooperatives helped to sponsor this event.”

Field Day under the red pine. “This Partners in Forestry field day was a community education effort to promote long-term forest management and conservation. Here, under a recently thinned red pine stand, a forestry staff explains to landowners and the public the benefits of thinning red pine in a timely fashion. The UW Center for Cooperatives helped to sponsor this event.”

 

PIF’s approach to conservation employs economic rationale as much as ecological. They believe an income stream helps a landowner further connect to the value of their investment. The organization helps private land owners with a vast array of management and conservation strategies, including the Managed Forest Law (MFL) program. This program, administered by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, discourages fragmentation while promoting sustainable forest management.  In this way, landowners can derive wealth from their property without dramatically altering it. “Without PIF’s education and outreach efforts, many landowners would not have had the knowledge or incentive to take advantage of many worthy opportunities including the MFL program,” says Rod Sharka, a Vilas County resident and PIF Board Member.

Portion of Wisconsin River protected by the Forest Legacy Program

 

Recent PIF efforts resulted in the permanent conservation of over 1000 acres and two miles of Wisconsin River habitat near the river headwaters, by utilizing the Forest Legacy Program, and MFL enrollment. PIF’s advocacy, direct action and investment were crucial to this conservation success story. The property had been owned by a real estate professional who showed a desire to sell. As PIF offered insights into the advantages and the means to accomplish this conservation project, the landowner became a willing partner.

PIF assists with and strongly advocates for sustainable forest management, on privately held lands and protected lands, and as a tool for conservation. “PIF newsletters and workshops have included tree species life-cycle requirements, sustainable forest management practices, recognizing and treating invasive species, forest impacts from a changing climate, tax implications of harvesting timber, federal land exchanges, managed forest law, edible plants, information on unique forest animals and the list goes on and on,” says Matt Dallman, Director of Conservation at The Nature Conservancy, “They are very thorough.”

Gary Goska and Joe Hovel at the WI River legacy forest “When local realtor Gary Goska (right) was faced with selling his family hunting lands, PIF suggested a working forest conservation project as a solution. Director Joe Hovel negotiated and invested with Gary and the Upper Wisconsin River Legacy Forest was conceived, protecting 1042 acres and over 2 miles of river, all with public access, near Land O’ Lakes”

 

Without Partners in Forestry Cooperative, large swaths of working forest would have met different fates. PIF is demonstrating that having healthy environments, and even public access, can be conducive to stimulating economic activity, and one doesn’t need to take preference over the other. For these great achievements, we are honored to present Partners in Forestry Cooperative with the Rod Nilsestuen Award for Work Lands Preservation award. The organization will receive its award on November 5th during its annual meeting in Conover. Stay tuned for more details.

New Opportunities for Recreation & Sustainable Forestry in Bayfield County

Folks in northern Wisconsin have new community forest in which to recreate and explore thanks to the work of Bayfield Regional Conservancy.

The Conservancy completed the purchase of a 400-acre forested property from Plum Creek Timber Co. in late December, and will convey the newly established community forest to the Town of Lincoln in late 2013 pending a majority vote by town residents to accept the gift.

This new community forest in will allow for public access for hunting, fishing, hiking, birding and other non-motorized uses, and it will also provide protection for two miles of Marengo River shoreline along a highly erodible section of the river, so that it remains pristine for fishing.

Bayfield Regional Conservancy became involved in the project after being alerted to the realty listing by a group of town residents who asked for help in preserving it.

Bayfield Regional Conservancy became involved in the project after being alerted to the realty listing by a group of town residents who asked for help in preserving it.

In addition to offering public recreation, the property is intended to serve as an example of sustainable forestry and restoration. The Conservancy plans to hold field days in collaboration with other forest management organizations to further sustainable forestry tenets.  An additional management goal is to promote the prevalence of native tree species resistant to climate change, in order to ensure forest adaptability in response to climate change impacts expected for our region.

The land is largely forested, including a mosaic of forest types, and serves as habitat for state rare and endangered species, along with at least 145 species of birds. Other wildlife includes bear, deer, bobcat, fisher, American marten, grey wolf , wood turtle and more.

Already, a Friends of Lincoln Community Forest group has been formed to help with management of the property.  The Conservancy will participate in management of the property with a volunteer committee and promote school activities at the forest as well.

A Gathering Waters member, Bayfield Regional Conservancy is a non-profit land trust dedicated to preserving the places you love in northwestern Wisconsin.  Funds for the $673,000 purchase came from matching grants from the US Forest Service Community Forestry Program and the state of Wisconsin’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund administered by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

 



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