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.