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Forest Management

timber harvest

Approximately 1.5 million acres of school trust lands are considered commercial forest lands. 

DNR’s Division of Forestry is responsible for the administrative duties of managing these lands including forest modeling, timber inventory, appraisals and sales, reforesting areas that have been harvested, verifying forest products removed from school trust lands, maintaining access roads, and collecting and accounting of revenues.

In Minnesota, the predominant economic species for timber harvest are aspen, balsam fir, black spruce, white spruce, pine (jack, white, and red) and northern hardwoods. DNR Forestry offers a steady supply of timber from school trust lands to manage the health of these lands, provide a consistent revenue stream for the Permanent School Fund, and to help ensure the viability of Minnesota’s forest products industry, thereby protecting the long-term value of the timber resources as well as providing a backdrop for outdoor recreation and tourism.

DNR Forestry uses Minnesota Forest Resources Council guidelines to meet these long-term sustainable harvest goals. MFRC's Site Level Guidelines consider the economic, social, and ecological values of forest resources, and focus on mitigating the effects of timber management on wildlife habitat, riparian areas, and soil and water resources. They cover a variety of management practices that address topics such as provision of coarse woody debris, removal of woody biomass, and retention of leave trees, riparian zones, seasonal ponds, and rare species and rare communities.

Additionally, DNR has adopted forest certification under standards from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) for all the forests that DNR manages, including school trust forestlands. FSC and SFI define standards for sustainable and responsible forestry management and then accredit independent, third-party auditors who assess forest lands to ensure conformance with the standards. This formal certification ensures that forestry activities are conducted in a manner that maintains the forest's biodiversity, productivity, and ecological processes, and that forest practices meet high standards of ecological, social, and economic sustainability.

From 2013-2022, approximately 25% of annual gross revenue from school trust lands was generated from forest management activities. School trust timber sales account for approximately 46 percent of all DNR timber revenues annually.

DNR FY2023 Forestry Cost Certification Report DNR Previous Years Forestry Cost Certification Reports

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