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What are these guides?

Their purpose

These guides are intended for those seeking a general understanding and also the many details of forest management in the Upper Great Lakes Region of North America. The guides consider many aspects of individual tree growth and stand management treatments, but in the context of stands of several to many acres in size, either for existing forest stands or new plantings.

How to use them

The guides are designed for a wide range of users including landowners to professional foresters, and for the novice to those with great experience. "Forest Management 101" provides background on key subjects and an indication of choices. The novice may find it helpful to proceed systematically through Forest Management 101 while the experienced professional may focus on a particular subject to find the latest guidance - for example, on silvicultural systems and the timing of the first thinning for a certain management objective for a certain tree species. Our intent is to provide comprehensive guidance, yet minimize the time spent searching the web site. We recognize that these guides can be taxing in terms of new terminology in forest ecology and management. Consequently, we point out the Glossary tab. The authors welcome  suggestions for improving this guide including actual examples, photographs of stands and treatments, etc. Find out how you can contribute.

Their history

In recent decades the objectives of forest management, especially on public lands, have broadened considerably. Land managers are now being challenged to address questions that are not answered by existing guides, while continuing to produce traditional outputs on forested lands. Despite their widespread use, management guides to date typically have several deficiencies. These include:

  • Attention focused on the stand as an isolated unit, without considering landscape issues;
  • Timber production as the major objective, with little attention to how management might favor wildlife, recreation, aesthetics, water, or other objectives;
  • Focus on the management of pure species single-aged stands--little consideration of stands of mixed species or multiple age classes;
  • Weak linkage to vegetation other than trees.

Consequently, these new guides were developed by a multidisciplinary team of public and private foresters, researchers, practitioners and landowners, with a focus on a wide range of forest management objectives.


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North Central Region Forest Management Guide: A cooperative project of the USDA Forest Service and University of Minnesota.
USDA Forest Service - Northern Research Station
Last Modified:  05/25/2006