Process for Landscape-level Forest Management

The MFRC follows a four-phase process of landscape-level forest resource management (planning, coordination, implementation, and monitoring/evaluation). All steps are collaborative and benefit from the involvement and perspectives of a variety of citizens and natural resource professionals.

Landscape planning is an effort to collect information on the resources of a region, identify local issues, agree upon collective desired future forest conditions, and determine strategies to attain future forest goals. Landscape coordination involves communication among landowners and managers within a region to identify priority areas in which to apply landscape planning strategies.

Landscape implementation involves on-the-ground-activities, management, and collaborative projects to act on strategies identified to work toward desired future forest conditions.

Monitoring and evaluation is required to assess how the strategies implemented are advancing desired future conditions.

Landscape Planning

Landscape planning is the first step in a four-phase process of landscape-level forest resource management (planning, coordination, implementation, and monitoring/evaluation).

In the six forested regions of Minnesota, residents and stakeholder representatives have worked cooperatively to:

  • Gather and assess information on each region’s economic, social, and ecological characteristics.
  • Identify key issues and plan ways to address those issues to promote sustainable forest management.
  • Agree on desired future forest conditions that promote sustainable forests and agree on goals and strategies to achieve those conditions.
  • Coordinate agreed-upon strategies, activities, and plans among forest landowners and managers to achieve desired future forest conditions.

As a result of this work, a regional forest resource plan or “landscape plan” has been prepared for each of the six forested regions. Each plan begins with statements that describe desired future conditions for the region’s forests over a long-term horizon (up to 100 years). The plans also include shorter-term goals and strategies to guide efforts by landowners; forestry professionals; and industry, tribal, and agency officials in pursuing the sustainable management of the region’s forest resources.

Landscape Coordination

Through regional landscape committees, the MFRC brings together representative interests to coordinate forest management across jurisdictional or political boundaries.

Broad Involvement

Involvement of private landowners, interested citizens, and natural resource professionals is integral to landscape-level resource management. The MFRC provides regional committee meetings typically on a quarterly basis to facilitate communication across ownerships and inform regional managers and owners of potential opportunities for collaborative work, project funding, and more. Regional committees bring people together and aim to "connect-the-dots" to work toward identified desired future forest conditions.


Developing funding to support sustainable forestry projects that implement the landscape plan goals is one of the key collaborative activities taken on by the regional committees.  Each of the MFRC landscape plans include a framework of desired future conditions, goals, and strategies – policy statements that develop a road map or guidance for actions that implement sustainable forestry.

Landowners and resource managers are all encouraged to refer to and incorporate these policy statements into their management efforts and documents as a way to support the implementation of the landscape plans.  Below is a list of some of the local level documents and processes that could benefit from incorporating the landscape plan policy framework:

  • Forest resource management plans
  • Forest stewardship plans for family forest landowners
  • Research studies and reports
  • Grant proposals
  • Annual work plans and budgets
  • Outreach and public communication documents

Plans and Policy Statements

  • East Central Landscape
  • Northeast Landscape
  • Northern Landscape
  • North Central Landscape
  • Southeast Landscape
  • West Central Landscape

Implementation of Landscape Planning Strategies

Landscape implementation involves on-the-ground-activities, educational opportunities, active management, and collaborative projects to carry out strategies to pursue desired future forest conditions.

Regional landscape committees develop and implement projects (also known as Opportunity Areas) to address the goals and strategies outlined in the regional forest resource plans. These projects involve multiple partners, including landowners, foresters, townships and county officials, resource managers from Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs), resource conservation and development districts (RC&Ds), and state and federal agencies.

Developed for both public and private lands, these projects address a range of topics in such areas as forestry and watershed education, wildlife habitat, joint timber sale planning, technical assistance for private landowners, and open lands management. Visit our Projects page to learn about a few of the current, on-the-ground projects that regional landscape committees have initiated.

In addition to collaborative forest management projects, regional committees are active on the local-level providing outreach and educational opportunities for forest landowners as well as supporting research that addresses information needs within the landscapes.

MFRC Landscape Program Pilot Projects

Regional landscape committees are in various stages of implementing strategies identified through landscape planning to move forest landscapes and communities toward desired future forest conditions. Visit each regional committee page for additional information about ongoing and upcoming pilot projects.

Updated 2015-10-02