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MADISON — Record timber sales from state lands during fiscal 2014 reflect continued progress toward improving forest health and diversity while contributing nearly $12 million to support habitat management, recreation and other work by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Paul DeLong, chief state forester, said timber sales totaled more than $11.7 million during fiscal year 2014, up nearly 9 percent from the $10.8 million during fiscal 2013 and up 126 percent from the levels of a decade ago. The numbers highlight the value of the select hardwoods and other timber that covers state lands while offering important insights into the need for continued forest management to maintain healthy and diverse wildlife populations, protect key watersheds and provide opportunities for public recreation.
The timber sales were generated from state forests, fish and wildlife properties, state parks and other properties.
“Our state forests and other lands are managed based on long-term plans that balance current environmental, social and economic benefits while ensuring opportunities for future generations,” DeLong said. “The plans are based on scientific best practices and integrate input from wildlife experts, ecologists, water quality specialists, recreational interests and citizens statewide.”
The record timber sales reflect in part the fact that the department has been working hard to reduce a backlog of timber sales needed to implement objectives outlined in master plans for state properties. Despite these record sales, Wisconsin’s state-owned forests keep growing, adding a net 11 million cubic feet of saw timber each year. Similarly, forests in all ownership categories throughout the state are adding a net 185 million cubic feet of saw timber annually or enough to frame about 139,000 homes.
“Wood is a wonderful renewable resource and our forests are one of Wisconsin’s great natural assets,” DeLong said.
DeLong said Wisconsin has a diversity of forests types and management objectives spanning the array of public and private lands. From wilderness areas and old growth forest to thriving young forests, that diversity means the state’s 17 million acres of forests provide a wide array of benefits to the people of Wisconsin.
“On our state lands, our long-term management plans respond to the feedback we receive from our citizens regarding the benefits they want to see. Fortunately, we are able to manage forests to produce a wide array of benefits, from wood products to diverse wildlife habitats and recreational settings,” DeLong said. “Given the importance of the forest products industry to our state’s economy, it is a real plus that our state-owned forests will continue to deliver high yields from timber sales that help power the economy in many rural communities throughout the state.”
Overall, Wisconsin’s public and private lands generate forest products valued at nearly $19 billion each year and support more than 46,800 jobs based on numbers from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.
To learn more, visit dnr.wi.gov and search “timber sale.”