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Non-Timber Forest Products

As forestry educators, we often focus on timber sales (we want them to go well after all), but there are many more goods that can be harvested from woodlands for recreational or financial reasons. These goods are usually called non-timber forest products (NTFPs), which although states what they aren’t, does a good job of indicating they are too numerous to try to categorize otherwise. This entry will spend some time discussing what NTFPs are, why landowners might be interested in them, and what resources exist to support landowners who want to pursue various products.

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What Can a Forester do for You?

Brochure from Southern Pulpwood Conservation Association

Forestry has changed little since this brochure was published in the 1960’s, but the role of a forester and what they can do for you, if anything, has broadened. It is important to consider a forester for any activities you want to partake in on your property. A good forester is trained in the art and science of forest management, and can help you improve your forest for your needs and the forest’s needs. If you are considering a timber sale, working with a forester almost always guarantees you a better price for your wood.

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Wildlife for your Woodlot

A popular reason for owning woodlands is recreation, including hunting and wildlife watching. The wildlife that is found in woodlot is based on specific wildlife needs. In order for landowners to manage for wildlife, they need to take these into consideration. Wildlife have four basic requirements for life: water, food, shelter and space. Landowners have some ability to adapt their property to fit these needs based on what wildlife is desired.

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Resources for Woodland Owners

Over 57% of Wisconsin forests are owned by families, rather than public entities (federal, state, counties), tribes, and industry. This amounts to somewhere around 270,000 family woodlots in the state. The unfortunate part of this story is that only about 10% of landowners have a written management plan for their forests. Management plans are important decision-making tools in the long list of decisions that will need to be made from selling timber for money or improving forest health to preparing for passing land on to the next generation. The good news is that there is help available for family forest owners including websites, people, and programs.

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