• SECTION I: What does a forester do, and how does it benefit me?


    • What is forestry, and what is a forester? – Forestry is the art and science of evaluating and managing a woodland to meet a landowner’s goals in a sustainable way. A forester is a trained professional with at least a bachelor’s degree who implements established forestry practices to address the goals and interests of the landowners they work with.Why would a landowner work with a forester? – Woodlands are more than just trees; they are complex systems with many interrelated parts (trees, water, wildlife, fungi, insects, etc.). Foresters undergo special training and education to understand these relationships, and they can influence a woodland system in a way that achieves the goals and interests of the owner.When would a landowner work with a forester? – The best time to use the services of a forester is when you buy the land. However, you can benefit from working with a forester at any time, particularly if you are considering a timber harvest.Is a logger the same as a forester? – No, loggers are trained professionals who fell and process trees into logs and move them to a mill. Foresters develop a plan from which the trees to fell and harvest (if any) are identified.What are the different types of foresters?
      • DNR forester – Works for the State of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to provide general advice to landowners on the care and management of their woodlands. This service is free for Wisconsin landowners.
      • Consulting forester – Works for the landowner for a fee to provide specific advice on the management of their woodland and can help implement recommended practices needed to meet the goals of the landowner.
      • Industrial forester – Works for a mill or logging contractor and provides advice to landowners on the care and management of their woodland with the hope that the landowner will conduct a timber harvest with them.

  • SECTION II: What happens when I meet with a forester?


      1. Pre-meeting conversation: Prior to a property visit, you will likely discuss your woodland with your chosen forester over the phone, via email, or in person. After scheduling a visit to your property, the forester will ask you about the location of your property and how to access it. The forester will also want to know about your interests for your property and any past forestry-related activities.
      2. Walking your property: While it isn’t critical that you accompany your forester on a property visit, it can be highly beneficial for both of you. You will get the opportunity to identify areas of interest and inform the forester of past activities that have taken place on your property. You can also ask questions and express any concerns regarding the health of your woods. Your forester will collect some measurements in addition to taking notes on how you use your forest.
      3. Follow-up: After the walk-through, your forester will send you a summary of what they saw and heard and some recommendations for actions you could take to achieve your goals and interests. The forester may also send you supplementary information that addresses any issues you may have raised during the walk-through. If you met with a private consulting forester, they will also lay out a plan for a contractual relationship for continued work on your property.
      4. See an example of a woodland owner’s walk-through

  • SECTION III: How do I find a forester?


    • The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) maintains a list of foresters who work throughout the state. On this list, you can find a variety of DNR, consulting and industrial foresters who work in the county where your land is located.DNR foresters are available to answer your questions and walk your property at no cost. If other services are needed, refer to the “services provided” column of the table. Below are other terms that you will see in the Forestry Assistance Locator:
      1. DNR tax law specialists are employed by the state to administer Wisconsin’s tax law programs (Forest Crop Law and Managed Forest Law).
      2. DNR foresters are employed by the state and are located throughout Wisconsin to get you started with forest management.
      3. Certified plan writers are cooperating foresters certified by the DNR to write Managed Forest Law (MFL) tax law plans.
      4. Cooperating foresters are private enterprise foresters (consulting and industrial foresters) who have agreed to comply with DNR standards for sound forest management. Cooperating foresters assist private landowners on a contract or fee basis, which the landowner pays.

      If you are ready to schedule a visit, contact your local DNR forester today.

  • SECTION IV: What should I do before I meet with a forester?


    • Before meeting with a forester, there are a few things you should keep in mind. This worksheet will prepare you for questions your forester may ask during the walk-through of your woodland. The forester will want to know basic information, such as how you use your woods and property, what activities you enjoy on the land and any prior work you may have done in your woods. The video below will help you answer the questions on the worksheet.
      Worksheet for a forester visit

      Based on observations of your woodland and your answers to the worksheet questions, your forester will recommend some activities for your property. These activities are designed to get you more of what you want from your woodland and improve the health of your trees. This publication, Getting the Most from Your Woodland, will help you understand how a forester can create a plan of action that meets your goals for your woodland.

  • SECTION V: What should I do next?