Regional Forest Landscapes

All Minnesota Forest Resources Council landscape-level forest management is organized according to ecological regions.  A diverse group of 50 stakeholders outlined the six major forested landscapes. Criteria followed in delineating the MFRC landscapes were based on ecological units and classification systems (ECS) and existing political and administrative boundaries.

The MFRC identified six major forested landscapes within Minnesota, established as:

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

A broad set of principles and goals set by the MFRC guide the Landscape Program. These provided regional committees with a context for undertaking landscape-level planning and coordination.  Recognizing the variability in environmental, economic and community characteristics among landscape regions, goals and principles are well-defined yet broad.  They will allow for creativity in forest resource planning at this large scale.

Learn more about our forested landscapes on our Regional Committees page. Landscapes in Minnesota are depicted in this map.

Delineating MFRC Landscape Boundaries

All landscape-level forest resource planning and coordination is organized according to a schema of landscape regions. A diverse group of 50 stakeholders outlined six landscape regions, plus the prairie and metro regions that are mostly non-forest. Criteria followed in delineating the landscape regions were that the regions should be based on:

  • Broadly defined ecological units
  • Existing classification systems
  • Existing political and administrative boundaries
  • Current planning processes.

Each landscape has unique ecological, social and economic characteristics, best considered on a regional basis. Regional boundaries fall on county lines, following DNR Ecological Classification System (ECS) sections as closely as possible. (See the map below maps of the political and ecological boundaries for the landscape regions.)

Assessments to describe a region’s characteristics are based on both regional landscape areas and ECS sections. Economic, social and cultural information is organized along landscape boundaries, which follow county lines. Ecological data is analyzed according to ECS units that most closely align with the landscape region.

Principles & Goals

The Landscape Program is guided by a broad set of principles and goals developed by the MFRC. The principals and goals provide regional committees with a context for undertaking landscape-level planning and coordination. They are defined yet broad, recognizing the variability in environmental, economic, and community characteristics among landscape regions and the need for creative planning at large scales.


Principles are standards that guide the selection of possible actions to accomplish the goals. Landscape coordination should:

  • Effectively address the major forest resource issues identified in the region to achieve the goals established by the regional committees
  • Respect differences in goals and objectives of public and private forest landowners within each regional landscape, as well as the rights and responsibilities of forest land ownership
  • Reflect the broad diversity of interests and perspectives on the use, management and protection of forest resources found in each regional landscape
  • Be selected after thoughtful deliberation and careful review of a variety of potential actions that might be voluntarily taken by landowners
  • Be guided by the most current, science-based information available about the condition of the region’s forests, economies and communities
  • Reflect adaptive management processes that involve opportunity for continuous learning experiences
  • Be capable of being fully implemented with existing (or forthcoming) financial and professional resources
  • Promote forest practices that improve forest ecosystem health, resiliency and productivity within forested landscapes to achieve statewide goals
  • Result from cooperation and coordination among and between landowners, agencies and organizations responsible for forested landscapes
  • Result from open and continuous communication and dialogue among all parties interested in sustaining forested landscapes
  • Result from an engaged public that supports and has confidence in the effectiveness of the landscape-level planning and coordination processes.


Goals are desired conditions for a region’s forested landscape and anticipated outcomes of long-term regional committee activity. Landscape coordination aspires to:

  • Maintain or expand total forested land areas within each region over time; ensure that forests in each region are in a variety of ownerships, serving both public and private interests
  • Maintain healthy, resilient, functioning forest ecosystems within an appropriate mix of forest cover types and age classes within each landscape region to promote timber production, biological diversity, and viable forest-dependent fish and wildlife habitats
  • Ensure that each landscape region’s forests provide a full range of products, services and values that contribute to economic stability, environmental quality, social satisfaction and community well-being
  • Encourage citizens to view their region’s forests as integral to the quality of life of current and future generations, to gain knowledge about their region’s forest resources, and to actively engage in forest stewardship
  • Assist the MFRC to understanding forest issues and conditions within each regional landscape.
Updated 2015-11-04