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Getting started with woodland stewardship

A conifer woodland with a mix of live and downed trees

If you own property with woodlands or are interested in stewarding woodlands owned by others, we've gathered resources and organizations that can help you become a successful woodland steward.

This starter guide is particularly useful for people interested in becoming stewards of woodlands greater than an acre in size and for those who do not have a history of woodland ownership in their families.

Minnesota’s forests and woodlands are diverse. From forests with many deciduous trees in southeastern Minnesota to the conifers that dominate much of northern Minnesota, there is the perfect tree and forest for everyone.

Learn about trees and woodlands

  • The Woodland Stewardship textbook is an excellent resource for learning about woodland stewardship principles. Last updated in 2020, the book contains 16 different chapters related to woodland stewardship and a variety of activities that individuals can take part in. The book is available in a variety of formats including print, e-book, and online versions. 
  • The University of Minnesota Extension’s Forestry webpages include common topics of interest to woodland stewards such as tree selection and care, woodland stewardship planning, and gathering edibles.
  • My Minnesota Woods provides timely articles on sustainable woodland management and achieving woodland stewardship goals. Sign up for a monthly email newsletter or follow the channel on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
  • Other Minnesota organizations also provide excellent online resources relating to woodland stewardship. For example, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Forest Stewardship webpage has information for woodland stewards on a variety of topics including cost-share assistance and finding a professional forester.

Extension’s Master Woodland Steward program delivers comprehensive training for anyone interested in becoming better woodland stewards. This educational program teaches family forest owners the ins and outs of forest health, monetizing land, managing for recreation and wildlife, estate planning and taxes, and more.

Extension regularly offers online, in-person, and hybrid courses on forestry, natural resources, and environmental topics. Check the events calendar for workshops that may be appealing to you. Courses and workshops are updated regularly.

Find your woodland

Whether you own or will inherit or purchase woodlands in the future, or simply want to work in or volunteer to help steward woodlands, there is a path and a place for you.


Set goals for your woodland


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Reviewed in 2023

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