January 24, 2018

The WI DNR realignment has changed how woodland owners interact with their WI DNR foresters. The realignment created two different types of WI DNR foresters – integrated service and tax law foresters – that will serve woodland owners.

Integrated service foresters are often times the initial contact for a woodland owner. Generally speaking, the role of the integrated service forester is to provide professional planning and technical advice to woodland owners. These foresters will be familiar with a wide array of state and federal programs for landowner financial and technical assistance. They educate woodland owners about forest management practices and connect woodland owners to the resources they need to implement forest management activities. Activities that integrated foresters will be able to assist landowners with include walk-throughs, cost-share assistance programs, tree planting assistance and stewardship plan writing.

Tax law specialists are experts on the Managed Forest Law (MFL) and Forest Crop Law (FCL) programs. Their role is to administer the tax law programs. These foresters will serve as a point of contact for MFL and FCL landowners, review and approve MFL applications, evaluate cutting notices and do tax law site visits.

If you are confused about which type of forester to contact, focus on your question for the forester not whether your land is enrolled in MFL/FCL. Here are some examples to help clarify this point.

• Your land is enrolled in MFL and you want to learn more about the Wisconsin Forest Landowner Grant Program (WFLGP) to complete a nonmandatory practice on your land. The integrated forester would assist you.
• Your land is enrolled in MFL and you want to use WFLGP cost sharing to complete a mandatory tree planting practice. Both the integrated forester and tax law specialist would service this request. The integrated forester would assist the woodland owner with the WFLGP application and payment process, while the tax law specialist would ensure the mandatory practice is implemented correctly.

To find your WI DNR forester, use the WI DNR website (dnr.wi.gov) then enter the search phrase Forestry Assistance Locator. The locator allows you to select the county your land is in and then it produces a list of WI DNR and Cooperating Foresters that work in that county. You will have the option to select foresters and create a resource list. There are also links to the Cooperating Forester’s websites and a list of services provided by each firm.