Winter Forest Utilization and Marketing Newsletter

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A winter forest of snow-covered trees, backlit by the sun and clouds

Winter Forest Utilization & Marketing Newsletter 

This issue contains information on timber sale preparation, forest certification, partnerships, the Forest Legacy program and more.


State forest fiscal year 2020 timber sale update

Timber sale acreage reporting has been completed for Michigan’s fiscal year 2020, which ended Sept. 30. In this year:

  • 50,000 acres were prepared for sale and harvest.
  • 59,000 acres were advertised for sale.
  • 49,000 acres were sold through the state timber sales system. 
  • 58,000 acres of state forest land were harvested.

From those acreages, the following cords of roundwood were reported:

  • 975,000 cords of roundwood were prepared for sale.
  • 1.1 million cords of roundwood were advertised for sale.
  • 929,000 cords of roundwood were sold.
  • 995,000 cords of roundwood were harvested from state forest land.

State forest certification audit completed

An image of a conifer forest in winter. A river is in the foreground

Michigan’s state forests have been independently certified as sustainably and responsibly managed since 2005 under two forest certification standards. These certifications require an annual third-party audit. 

This year, a recertification audit was conducted in October and included reviews of Lansing data and the Traverse City, Atlanta, Newberry, and Escanaba State Forest Management Units. Precautions were taken to minimize contact between auditors and DNR staff to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Audits included a field review of randomly selected proposed, active and recently closed timber sales; tree planting sites; and recreation and other special areas on state forest lands. Associated documentation was provided. The Lansing audit included review of the DNR’s forest planning, training and human resources programs.

While the DNR is awaiting final audit reports, it is expected that there will be no findings of nonconformance, meaning the DNR’s certificates will be renewed for five more years. In addition, a number of exemplary practices, where the DNR exceeded standards, were identified.

Forest certification confirms the quality of the DNR’s forest management practices and provides for tracking and labeling of wood-based forest products derived from Michigan state forests. This assures consumers that these products come from responsibly managed sources.      


Updating Michigan’s state forest management plans

Workers survey for hemlock woolly adelgid in a snowy forest

The 2013 Regional State Forest Management Plans have guided forest and habitat management on state forest lands for the last seven years. These 10-year plans are set to expire by 2024, which has prompted a revision process. In November 2020, surveys were sent to forest stakeholder groups and the general public for input and guidance that will inform what the new 10-year plan will look like. More than 1,600 surveys were returned, containing valuable insight for the development phase of the new plan, which may be completed in late 2021. Send questions or comments to Dan Heckman, 989-619-4924.


Michigan wood market demand increasing

A stack of cut logs is pictured

Market demand for finished wood products in Michigan appeared to improve significantly in October and the first half of November for many primary manufacturers. A brief industry update follows, summarized from conversations between DNR staff and 12 sawmills, paper mills and composite board mills in Michigan that receive the majority of DNR state forest timber, plus five logging firms. Markets for domestic sales of industrial lumber and grade lumber reportedly have improved compared to spring and summer 2020.

  • Most wood-using mills are running at 75% to full capacity. Operations are limited in part by labor shortages, not market demand for sawn/finished products. Several of those contacted stated they are unable to hire enough workers to operate at a higher capacity.
  • Log/wood yard inventories at some sawmills and wood-consuming mills are lower than usual due to wet logging conditions across most of the state.
  • Some loggers said markets for roundwood products were rising in both prices and volumes needed. However, sawlog production in the U.P. was reported as slower than normal due to restricted markets for the associated pulpwood from timber sales.

Contact Brenda Haskill or Dave Neumann with questions or comments.


Good Neighbor Authority update

Under Good Neighbor Authority  in fiscal year 2020, the DNR prepared timber sales totaling 4,221 acres with a volume of 66,991 cords on national forest land in Michigan. The loss of staff field time due to COVID-19 restrictions resulted in 3,616 acres of the fiscal year 2020 Plan of Work being deferred to fiscal year 2021. In fiscal year 2021, the DNR will continue to invest GNA revenues into new timber and non-timber projects in the Huron-Manistee, Hiawatha and Ottawa National Forests. Sales for 2021 are planned on 7,432 acres, to be accomplished by DNR staff and contracted foresters. Non-timber-sale projects in 2021 include land line, botany and wildlife surveys in support of timber sales, non-native invasive plant treatments, wildlife habitat restoration, plugging abandoned oil wells, and forest planting and regeneration surveys.


Finland, Maine and Michigan partner toward sustainable growth in forest bioeconomy

a forestry worker with a tablet in the outdoors

In a move that capitalizes on collective forestry knowledge and a commitment to smarter, sustainable uses of natural resources, Finland and the states of Maine and Michigan are elevating a cooperative effort in bioeconomy and clean technologies. Dec. 9, representatives from Finland, Maine and Michigan hosted a webinar to launch working groups in key bioeconomy sectors. The aim for the working groups is to act as platforms for joint U.S.-Finland research, development and innovation projects.

Michigan’s Natural Resources Deputy Shannon Lott outlined concrete areas for cooperation, including circular economy solutions for excess biomass, sustainable forest management policies and forest carbon sink data. There are also opportunities in mass timber production, as the wood construction market is advancing in the U.S. A conference recap and event recording share further details.

Image via FinlandAbroad online. 


Is your property right for the Forest Legacy Program?

A river and yellow flowers in the verdant Pilgrim River Forest

In Michigan, some of our most beautiful public land is made possible through the Forest Legacy Program, a nationally competitive program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service that uses federal and matching state or private funds to protect environmentally important forest lands.

Protection is accomplished through the acquisition of a conservation easement or fee ownership.

Projects nominated by May 14, 2021, will be considered for funding in fiscal year 2023, which begins Oct. 1, 2022. Find nomination application forms and more information at Michigan.gov/PrivateForestLand (click on the Forest Legacy button) or contact Kerry Wieber, 517-643-1256.


USDA Grants

Apply by 1-20 ►

Forest Service Wood Innovations grants:

Funds support traditional wood utilization projects, expanding wood energy markets and promoting wood construction of commercial buildings.

Apply by 2-3 ►

Forest Service Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovation grants:

Funds for community wood energy systems, mass timber facility equipment, sawmill expansion and more.

Apply by 3-31 ►

REAP – Rural Energy for America Program grants and guaranteed loans:

Funds available for renewable energy systems and purchase and installation of energy efficiency improvements.


For fun: A logger's wild encounter

A furry wild lynx perches on a yellow logging skidder

In a video shared by wildlife enthusiasts, a logger encounters a wild lynx in Alberta, Canada. The curious lynx climbed onto the logger's skidder to check it out before making a flying leap back into the forest. 


Questions? Contact Brenda Haskill for more information.