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.
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.
Splitting wood by hand with a maul is one of the few tasks I look forward to and undertake with a great deal of satisfaction. Whether you are an old hand at splitting wood or not, there are a few simple techniques worth sharing that will make your work safe and efficient.
Deciding which trees to harvest and when is an important part of getting what you want from your forest. Following the right guidelines will ensure that you will get what you want now and well into the future.
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.
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.