Forestry Management Plans

Soil Series Descriptions

The various soil types on the property determine the vegetation, economic productivity, potential for wind throw, susceptibility to erosion, and suitability for heavy equipment for active forest management. All management activities should take caution to protect the soil from rutting or erosion into the creek or nearby lake. Utilize Best Management Practices described in the “Sustainable Soil and Water Quality Practices on Forest Land” to protect soil and water quality ( The following soil information is adapted from the soil maps and reports on the UASDA Web Soil Survey at

Cohoctah. The Cohoctah series consists of very deep poorly drained or very poorly drained soild formed in foamy alluvial deposits on flood planes. Slope ranges from 0 to 2 percent. Native vegetation is red maple, white ash, swamp white oak, American elm, alder, and quaking aspen. The site index for red maple is 56 and the expected annual growth rate is 29 ft3/acre. [Site index is the expected height at age 50 and is used to compare the quality of soil for growing trees.] Cohoctah soils are poorly suited for harvesting equipment because of low strength and wetness.

Spinks. The Spinks series consists of very deep, well drained soils formed in sandy eolian or outwash material. They are on dunes, moraines, till plains, outwash plains, beach ridges, and lake plains. Slope ranges from O to 70 percent. Native vegetation is hardwoods, dominantly of oak and hickory. The site index for red oak is 65 and the expected annual growth rate is 57 ft3/acre. Spinks soils are well suited for harvesting equipment.

Carlisle. The Carlisle series consists of very deep, very poorly drained soils formed in woody and herbaceous organic materials in depressions within lake plains, outwash plains, ground moraines, flood plains and moraines. Slope ranges from O to 2 percent. Major tree species include American elm, white ash, red maple, willow, tamarack, quaking aspen, and alder. The site index for red maple is 56 and the expected annual growth rate is 29 ft3/acre. Carlisle soils are poorly suited for harvesting equipment because of low strength and wetness.

Ceresco. The Ceresco series consists of very deep, somewhat poorly drained soils that formed in loamy alluvium on flood plains in river valleys. Slope ranges from O to 3 percent. A large amount is in woods consisting of elm, ash, and cottonwood. The site index for red oak is 66 and the expected annual growth rate is 57 ft3/acre. Ceresco soils are moderately suited for harvesting equipment because of wetness and flooding.

Brems. The Brems series consists of very deep, moderately well drained soils formed in acid sandy outwash on outwash plains and moraines. Slope ranges from O to 8 percent. Native vegetation is deciduous forest. The site index for pin oak is 59 and the expected annual growth rate is 43 ft’/acre. Brems soils are moderately suited for large equipment for being too sandy.

Abscota. The Abscota series consists of very deep, moderately well drained soils that formed in sandy alluvium on flood plains. Slopes range from Oto 6 percent. Native vegetation is American elm, red maple, black ash, and sycamore. The site index for red maple is 56 and the expected annual growth rate is 29 ft3/acre. Abscota soils are moderately suited for harvesting equipment for wetness and flooding.

Recreation. Stand One is frequently used by the Landowners and their friends for walking, skiing, trail riding, bird watching, and deer hunting. There are no roads for vehicle traffic in Stand One but there is a network of foot paths used by the Landowners and their neighbors.

Desired Species. The landowners use the property for deer hunting and wildlife viewing. Stand One has excellent wildlife habitat. Stand One has thick cover and water nearby for wildlife. Deer trails were observed throughout Stand One and I saw a bald eagle fly over while conducting the inventory. The creek does not support many game fish, but the lake on the east side of the stand is heavily used for fishing by people living on the lake.

Stand Two

Narrative Description. Stand Two is a 28 acre lowland hardwoods stand with a creek running 1,275′ through the center of the stand that empties into the lake just south of the stand. The forest is dominated by white ash and red maple. The stand has more than 1,500 feet of frontage along the lake and most of the soil in the stand is very poorly drained. Stand Two has average aesthetics for a lowland hardwoods forest. The forest is visible from the lake and a private road.

Forest Health. Emerald Ash Borer is the primary insect problem in the stand infecting most or all of the ash trees. Ash trees are about a third of the stand basal area so EAB will dramatically impact the stand. Secondary forest health issues include Dutch Elm Disease but elm is a minor component of the stand.

Invasive Species. I did not observe any noxious or invasive plant species in Stand Two. EAB is an invasive insect that is native to China and was found in Detroit in 2002.

Soil. The primary soil types for Stand Two are Cohoctah fine sandy loam (very poorly drained) and Carlisle muck (very poorly drained). Stand Two has average site quality because of the very poorly drained soils. The site index for red maple is 56 on the poorly drained Cohoctah soils. The poorly-drained soils in Stand One must be protected from any heavy equipment by conducting any management activity when soils are frozen or dry.

Water. Stand Two has abundant surface water resources with both a creek running through the stand and significant lake frontage.

Wetlands. The DEQ Wetlands Map Viewer at indicates that all of Stand Two is a wetland according to state and federal definitions. A permit is not required for typical forest management activities in a wetland, but a permit is required for filling, dredging, draining, or development. A DEQ permit (usually $50 or $100) is also required for a stream crossing (culvert or bridge). See for more information about wetlands. Any management activity in Stand Two should follow the “Sustainable Soil and Water Quality Practices on Forest Land” (

Wood and Fiber Production. Stand Two has at least 15 tree species and the dominant species are white ash, red maple and big tooth aspen. Secondary species include musclewood, elm, black cherry, basswood, bitternut hickory, paper birch, hawthorn, willow, cottonwood, and beech. Stand Two is a sawtimber size stand with most of the basal area in trees ::0:10″ DBH. Stand Two has average stand quality and is an uneven-aged forest with many age classes.


Desired Future Conditions

Forestry management activities are meant to accomplish the landowner’s goals for that particular stand and to bring about desired future conditions for the forest. The goals for the entire property include recreation, maintaining aesthetics, conducting sustainable timber harvests, maintaining excellent wildlife habitat, and protecting soil and water quality.

Stand One is a 30 acre northern hardwoods forest with great aesthetics and biodiversity for recreation. It also has high quality timber with very good economic value. This stand can support timber harvests every ten to fifteen years without compromising the aesthetic and recreational value of the forest. I suggest managing this stand for sustainable timber production that is compatible with the maintaining biodiversity, recreation, and aesthetics. The desired future condition is the continuation of a mature and healthy northern hardwoods forest.

Stand Two is a 28 acre lowland hardwoods forest with good biodiversity but poor timber quality due to forest health issues and poorly drained soils. It is very important for water quality and fish habitat with a creek and 1,500′ of lake frontage. Stand Two should be managed to minimize the forest health impacts and maximize soil and water protection. The desired future condition is the continuation of a lowlands hardwoods forest that protects soil and water resources.

Stand Three is a 5 acre Scotch pine plantation. The trees are mature and starting to decline so the current stand should be harvested and replaced with more desirable trees. Unfortunately the market for Scotch pine is very limited so removing these trees may be a cost rather than income. The desired future condition is a replacement of Scotch pine with a native hardwoods forest.

General Activities for the Entire Property

Activity 0-1: Join the American Tree Farm System and Michigan Forest Association. You should consider joining the American Tree Farm System ( to certify that your forest is sustainably managed. Certification documents the public goods that “Tree Farmers” provide to society including wood, water, recreation and wildlife. Certified forests are assessed by a third party to show society that both the American Tree Farm System and forest landowners are complying with their “Standards of Sustainability.” The minimum requirements to join Tree Farm are ten acres of forest, a current forest management plan, compliance with the “Standards of Sustainability” (listed in the Appendix), and a free inspection by a Tree Farm Inspector. There is no additional cost for you after developing this Forest Stewardship Plan.

You may also want to consider joining other forest landowner groups. According to USFS research, only 4% of family forest owners have a written forest management plan (Butler, 2008). Your investment in this management plan puts you into an elite group of forest owners! The Michigan Forest Association (MFA) is an organization of private forest owners in Michigan and only costs around $40 in annual dues ( MFA provides useful forest management information (magazines, newsletters, emails) and opportunities for networking with other active and involved forest landowners (annual conferences, workshops, field days).

The Commercial Forest program does not allow buildings so a new tax ID will need to be created to separate the pole barn and a few acres from the commercial forest land.

The Qualified Forest (QF) program reduces property taxes by up to 18 mills for landowners with parcels between 20 and 640 acres who comply with their forest management plan to optimize their forest resources. Landowners do not have to allow the public on their land to hunt or fish, so this program is more attractive to family forest owners who own land for their own recreation. There is a $50 application fee and an annual fee equivalent to 2 mills to help fund the operation of the program. Landowners must also report timber harvests or other forest practices in the year they occur. See for information and program enrollment forms.

The Commercial Forest (CF) program provides a specific property tax of $1.25 per acre for landowners that have at least 40 acres of forest and are engaged in sustainable timber production in support of the state’s forest products industry. Participating landowners must make their land open to the public for foot access for hunting and fishing, so this program is usually more attractive to corporate forest owners who own large forests in the Upper Peninsula. The application fee is $ I per acre with a minimum fee of $200 and a ma-ximum fee of$ I ,000. See!Forest for more information and the application forms.

The recommendations in a Forest Stewardship Plan are voluntary unless the property is enrolled in the Commercial Forest Program or the Qualified Forest Program, especially those related to commercial timber harvests. Landowner Statement of Compliance: “I hereby acknowledge that I have reviewed this forest management plan and understand my responsibilities regarding conducting management practices and harvests as called for in the plan.”

Stand One Activities

Activity 1-1: Construct Forest Trails. One of the limitations to management and recreation in Stand One is the lack of established trails for motor vehicle to all parts of the stand. Although loggers will be able to develop skid trails throughout the forest for their equipment when conducting a timber sale, it may be beneficial to develop a trail system prior to conducting the next timber sale to direct logging traffic where you want it. This activity could be a great effort or expense, but there are options available for reducing your expenses. The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) offers financial assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The NRCS “conservation practice” code for Forest Trails and Landings is #655 and the following are their specifications for forest trails.

Site Map -Figure 2 shows the potential location of forest trails for vehicle traffic. The primary objective is to access all corners of the stand and across the creeks in Stand Two.

Timing-If you apply for competitive NRCS funding in the fall of 2014, you may have a contract awarded in the spring of 2015. You should wait to begin construction of the trails until the fall of2015 to avoid wounding oaks during “oak wilt season” from April 15 to July 15.
NRCS contracts usually have a three year window for completion.

Detailed Design Information -The property corners are surveyed and the boundary lines are apparent. The soils throughout Stand One are well drained and suitable for trails and heavy Timber Harvest Method. Foresters use “even age” and “uneven aged” methods to harvest trees. Even aged methods create a new cohort of trees with a similar age throughout the entire stand. “Shelterwood” or “clearcut” favors the regeneration of shade intolerant species like aspen, oak or black walnut. Uneven aged methods preserve variation in age classes in the stand. “Single tree selection” or “group selection” favor the regeneration of shade tolerant species like sugar maple and beech. Use uneven aged methods in Stand One to maintain diverse age classes and species.

Timber Sale Process. You can hire a consulting forester to assist you with a timber sale or you can manage your own sale. Either way, there are five basic steps in a timber sale. The timber sale process can take six to eighteen months, so start planning a year before the desired time.

Step One. A forest inventory measures the attributes of the forest to determine how to proceed with the sale. This Forest Stewardship Plan does not include this inventory, but the visual stand assessment determined that Stand One is ready for harvest anytime in the next few years.

Step Two. The inventory is used to decide what trees to sell and what trees to keep. Determine the trees to sell, paint those trees at stump and breast height, measure volume, and estimate market value. Based on a licensed boundary survey, identify the property comers and property lines so that all trees that are included in the sale are within your property boundary.

Step Three. You or your forester should advertise your timber sale. The true market value of the trees marked for sale is determined by getting multiple bids. Send the prospectus to several reputable timber buyers to invite them to inspect the trees marked for harvest and bid on the sale.

Step Four. The fourth step is to negotiate a timber sale contract between the landowner and the timber buyer. Select the best buyer based on price and other factors (reputation, timing, equipment, references, etc.). Negotiate a comprehensive contract, collect a performance bond, verify insurance, and collect full payment prior to harvest (for a lump sum stumpage sale).

Step Five. Supervise the harvest to ensure the contract is followed. Determine the location of skid trails and log landing for harvest equipment (place them where you would like to improve recreational trails for later use). Visit the site during timber harvest to verify performance. Also visit the site after the harvest to determine the refund of the performance bond.

Timber Sale Timing. Stand One has a high basal area so plan for a timber harvest in the winter of 2016. Mark the trees for sale in the summer of 2015. The harvest should be conducted in a season when the soil is frozen or dry. A fall or winter harvest will reduce the exposure of wounded trees to insects (bark beetles) or disease (oak wilt). Avoid a spring harvest to minimize rutting which damages both the soil and the roots of the residual trees. Harvest most of the mature beech trees before beech bark disease arrives in this county. Selection harvests are often done on a ten to fifteen year interval. Stand One may be ready for another harvest around 2030.

Forest Certification. There are several applicable “Standards of Sustainability” for properties certified by the American Tree Farm System. See Appendix for more info about Tree Farm.

Standard Three -Reforestation and Afforestation. Natural seeding from the residual trees in the stand should produce adequate regeneration. Planting seedlings to regenerate this stand is not likely to be biologically necessary, economical, or even successful with the high deer population.

Activity 2-2: Commercial Timber Harvest. Stand Two is a lowlands hardwoods forest with average timber quality, average basal area of 105 ft2/acre, and major forest health concerns with Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) already present and killing trees. Stand Two should be harvested when a timber sale is conducted in Stand One (2016-2018). The stand can be improved by reducing ash and mature maples to allow for regeneration. The stand is on wet soils with a creek and lake frontage so follow Best Management Practices to protect soil and water quality. Maintain a Riparian Management Zone (RMZ) of 100 feet on either side of the creek and along the lake. Trees may be harvested within the RMZ, but leave enough trees to shade the creek and avoid cutting trees right along the bank. Keep soil disturbance to a minimum and avoid building roads in the RMZ when possible. The harvest should be conducted when soils are dry or frozen. It will be necessary to install a stream crossing to allow for large harvesting equipment to cross the creek. This requires a DEQ permit ($50 or $100), and NRCS may have funding for a stream crossing (Code #578). Aesthetics along the lake may be impacted so harvest the ash and mature red maple and leave most other species. Natural regeneration should be successful, but it may be wise to limit the reproduction of ash as the future impacts of EAB are not known.

Activity 2-3: Forest Stand Improvement. A timber harvest in Stand Two will not adequately deal with EAB in the small diameter ash trees. Because timber sales only occur every ten to fifteen years for most hardwoods forests, it would be good to do some forest stand improvement (FSI) activities between timber sales (2018+). The primary forest stand improvement activity for Stand Two is to address forest health by removing ash trees too small to sell for timber ( <15" DBH). Secondary objectives include improving aesthetics, protecting soil and water quality and managing for wildlife habitat. This activity is likely to be a cost rather than an expense, but forest stand improvement activities are eligible for funding from the NRCS (Code #666).

Small ash trees have low timber value but excellent firewood value so forest stand improvement activities should focus on salvaging small ash for local firewood use. If this produces more firewood than you can use personally, it may be possible to sell it to nearby campgrounds or other people who bum wood for heat. Most of Michigan is under a state and federal quarantine to slow the spread of the EAB (see, but seasoned or kiln dried ash firewood can be moved within the quarantined areas. For local firewood, see Forest Stand Improvement activities should also follow Best Management Practices near the creek and lake to protect soil and water quality.

Activity 2-4: Riparian Forest Buffer. A riparian forest buffer is a strip of forest along a creek or lake that is managed intentionally to protect water quality and provide wildlife habitat. These riparian forest buffers are sometimes newly planted forests along streams in agricultural land ( an agroforestry practice), but they can also be located in existing forests. Because Stand 2 is losing so many of its native ash and elm trees to Emerald Ash Borer and Dutch Elm Disease, it will be helpful to do some active management to protect the ecological functions of this riparian forest. The NRCS conservation practice code is #3 91 and the following are specifications to be followed when using EQIP funds for a riparian forest buffer.

Purpose of Treatment: The purpose of the riparian forest buffer in Stand Two is to provide high quality habitat for the fish and animals that depend upon an aquatic or riparian environment. This riparian habitat includes trees that shade the stream to maintain proper water temperatures for fish habitat and trees, both live and dead, that offer habitat for birds and other animals.

Purpose of the Treatment: The purpose of the conservation practice is to improve the fish habitat of the stream by enhancing the wood in the water and stabilizing the stream channel. Placing wood into streams can provide overhead cover for fish, scour deeper holes, direct flow away from an eroding bank, and also slow water velocity to reduce erosion. The design of the installation will match the stream characteristics and landowner objectives. Obtain site specific guidance from a DNR Fisheries Division biologist ( or a Trout Unlimited ( fisheries biologist to plan the location and design of the woody structures to be placed in the stream.

Site Description: The creek runs 1,275′ through Stand 2. The bank full width is 20′ and the stream bank is 6′ tall in most places. Several bends are eroding and releasing sediment with heavy rainfall events.

Dates and Sequence. In-stream construction of placing large wood into the stream can be done throughout the year, except during specific seasonal restrictions to protect spawning fish as determined by the local DNR Fisheries biologist.

Vegetation Planting Plan. Planting vegetation on top of the banks to provide shade is covered by the Riparian Forest Buffer in Activity 2-4. Willow, elm and red osier dogwood may be planted in the slope of the stream bank at eroding corners. Plant at 1 ‘xl’ spacing in the spring after high water from snowmelt has receded. Tree tubes or stakes may be necessary to protect from herbivores or high water. Herbaceous vegetation like grasses is also suitable for erosion control.

Maintenance Requirements. Check the woody stmctures in the stream channel each spring and after heavy rainfall events. Additional staking or chaining may be needed to keep them in place. Vegetation planted on the side of the stream bank may need to be supplemented each spring.

Site Protection and Preparation. Foil ow Best Management Practices when using any heavy equipment to install the large woody structures. Follow guidance from Trout Unlimited or a DNR Fisheries biologist to prepare the site for tree planting and the placement of wood stmctures in the stream channel.

Map. See location of creek on Figure 2.

Stand Three Activities

Activity 3-1: Commercial Biomass Harvest. Stand Three is a 5 acre Scotch pine plantation that is 50 years old and rapidly declining. Scotch pine, now considered to be an invasive plant, has very little market value so there are no economic or ecological reasons to try to improve the pines. I recommend a regeneration harvest (clearcut) to remove all Scotch pines and start a new stand of hardwoods. This county does not have a significant market for conifers, and 5 acres is a small stand even if there were good markets nearby for pine. Therefore, I recommend converting this pine stand back to a hardwoods stand. The clearcut can occur anytime in the next few years, but sooner would be better (2016-2018), especially if it can be included in the timber sale in Stand One and Two. The seasonal timing of this harvest is more flexible with sandy soils supporting equipment most months of the year and no forest health restrictions either.

Table 1. Summary of Recommended Management Activities for the Next Twenty Years.

Stand # Extent Activity Description
Planned Complete
NRCS Cost/Profit
All 0-1 63 ac Join Tree Farm & MFA
All 0-2 63 ac Monitor Forest Health
All 0-3 63 ac Enroll in QF or CF Property Tax Reduction Program
One 1-1 3,000′ Construct Forest Trails
EQIP #655
One 1-2 30 ac Commercial Timber Harvest
Two 2-1 30′ Install Stream Crossing
EQIP #578
Two 2-2 28 ac Commercial Timber Harvest
Two 2-3 28 ac Forest Stand Improvement
EQIP #666
Two 2-4 5.9 ac Riparian Forest Buffer
EQIP #391
Two 2-5 1,275′ Stream Habitat Improvement
EQIP #395
Three 3-1 5 ac Commercial Biomass Harvest
EQIP #666
Three 3-2 5 ac Plant trees and Shrubs
EQIP #612


The successful implementation of this Forest Stewardship Plan is dependent upon frequent monitoring by the landowner. The landowner or their agent ( consulting forester) should walk the entire forest at least annually to inspect the forest for changes and to evaluate the success of earlier management activities. Monitoring for forest health issues should occur more frequently, at least two or three times a year to look for signs and symptoms of insects or disease during different seasons. All Forest Stewardship Plans should also be adaptable and flexible enough to accommodate changes in landowner goals or forest resources over the ten to twenty year planning period. Forest management plans for the Commercial Forest Program (up to 20 years long) must allow for record keeping of silvicultural practices and amendments due to unexpected events or natural disasters. Please use the table at the end of this plan to record notes and make modifications to this plan as needed. Forest management plans for the American Tree Farm System do not have an expiration date, but must be kept current to reflect the conditions of the forest and the goals of the landowner. The Michigan Tree Farm Committee provides a short Addendum that helps landowners keep their plan current with the Standards of Sustainability that are updated every five years.

Range – cattle grazing in natural landscapes.

Regeneration – the process by which a forest is reseeded and renewed.

Riparian Forest Buffers – strips of land along stream banks where trees, shrubs and other vegetation are planted and managed to capture erosion from agricultural fields.

Salvage Cut – the removal of dead, damaged, or diseased trees to recover value.

Sapling – a tree at least 4 1/2 feet tall and between 1 inch and 4 inches in diameter.

Sawlog – log large enough to be sawed economically, usually> I O”diameter and 16′ long.

Sawtimber stand – a stand of trees whose average DBH is greater than 11 inches.

Sealed-Bid Sale – a timber sale in which buyers submit secret bids.

Seed-Tree Harvest – felling all trees except for a few desirable trees that provide seed for the next forest.

Selection Harvest – harvesting single trees or groups at regular intervals to maintain uneven-aged forest.

Sheltenvood Harvest – harvesting all mature trees in two or more cuts, leaving trees to protect seedlings.

Silvopasture – growing trees and improved forages to provide suitable pasture for grazing livestock.

Silviculture – the art and science of growing forest trees.

Site Index – measure of quality of a site based on the height of a dominate tree species at 50 years old.

Site Preparation – treatment of an area prior to reestablishment of a forest stand.

Skidder – a rubber-tired machine with a cable winch or grapple to drag logs out of the forest.

Slash – branches and other woody material left on a site after logging.

Snag – a dead tree that is still standing and provide food and cover for a variety of wildlife species.

Softwood – any gymnosperm tree including pines, hemlocks, larches, spruces, firs, and junipers.

Species of Special Concern – not threatened or endangered yet, but has low or declining populations.

Stand – a group of forest trees of sufficiently uniform species composition, age, and condition to be considered a homogeneous unit for management purposes.

Stand Density – the quantity of trees per unit area, evaluated in basal area, crown cover or stocking.

Stoclting – the number and density of trees in a forest stand. Classified as under-, over-, or well-stocked.

Stumpage Price – the price paid for standing forest trees and paid prior to harvest.

Succession – the replacement of one plant community by another over time in the absence of disturbance.

Sustained Yield – ideal forest management where growth equals or exceeds removals and mortality.

Thinning – partial cut in an immature, overstocked stand of trees to increase the stand’s value and growth.

Threatened Species – a species whose population is so small that it may become endangered.

Timberland – forest capable of producing 20 ft3 of timber per acre per year.

Tolerance – the capacity of a tree species to grow in shade

Under-stocked – trees so widely spaced, that even with full growth, crown closure will not occur.

Understory– the level of forest vegetation beneath the canopy.

Uneven-Aged Stand – three or more age classes of trees represented in a single stand.

Unit Sale – a timber sale in which the buyer makes regular payments based on mill tally and receipts.

Veneer Log – a high-quality log of a desirable species suitable for conversion to veneer.

Well-Stocked – stands where growing space is effectively occupied but there is still room for growth.

Windbreaks – rows of trees to provide shelter for crops, animals or farm buildings.

Federal and State Laws Related to Forest Management

  • USA – Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, 1947
  • USA – National Historic Preservation Act, 1966
  • USA- Clean Water Act, 1948 and 1972
  • USA – Endangered Species Act, 1973
  • MI – Michigan Pesticide Control Act, Public Act 171 of 1976
  • MI – Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, Public Act 451 of 1994
  • MI – Right to Forest Act, Public Act 676 of2002

American Tree Farm System

I recommend that you join the American Tree Farm System to certify your exemplary and sustainable forest management. A free inspection from one of the 145 Tree Farm Inspecting Foresters is required to enroll. This Forest Stewardship Plan complies with the Farm System’s eight Standards of Sustainability listed below. See for information about the Tree Farm program, forest certification, and the full Standards of Sustainability.

  1. Commitment to Practicing Sustainable Forestry. Forest owner demonstrates commitment to forest vitality by developing and implementing a sustainable forest management plan.
  2. Compliance with Laws. Forest management activities comply with all relevant federal, state and local laws, regulations and ordinances.
  3. Reforestation and Afforestation. Forest owner completes timely restocking of desired species of trees on harvested sites and non-stocked areas where tree growing is consistent with land use practices and the forest owner’s management objectives.
  4. Air, Water, and Soil Protection. Forest management practices maintain or enhance the environment and ecosystems, including air, water, soil and site quality.
  5. Fish, Wildlife and Biodiversity. Forest management activities contribute to the conservation of biodiversity.
  6. Forest Aesthetics. Forest management plans and management activities recognize the value of forest aesthetics.
  7. Protect Special Sites. Special sites are managed in ways that recognize their unique historical, archeological, cultural, geological, biological or ecological characteristics.
  8. Forest Product Harvests and Other Activities. Forest product harvests and other management activities are conducted in accordance with the management plan and consider other forest values.

Qualified Forest Program

The Qualified Forest Program (Public Acts 42 and 45 of 2013, as amended) exempts forest owners from paying local millage taxes up to 18 mills in each tax jurisdiction (township). Landowners must have between 20 and 640 acres, a forest management plan, and agree to comply with their forest management plan. Landowners must report harvests to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development after they occur. A Fores! Stewardship Plan is accepted by the Qualified Forest program. See for information and enrollment forms. The application deadline is September 1 for tax benefits in the following year.

Commercial Forest Program

The Commercial Forest Program offers a specific property tax of $1.25 per acre (Parts 511 & 512 of Public Act 451, 1994, as amended). Landowners must have at least 40 acres of forest, a forest management plan, conduct commercial harvests as prescribed in the plan, and allow public foot access for hunting and fishing. Landowners must notify the DNR before they harvest forest products. A Forest Stewardship Plan is accepted by the Commercial Forest program. For more information and enrollment forms, see The application deadline in April 1 for tax benefits in the following year