Managing your woodlands
Learn to care for your woodlands
About 40 percent of Minnesota's woodlands are privately owned. Caring for our forests is often the job of private landowners.
Our forestry programs offer information and learning opportunities for anyone interested in protecting and improving their woodlands.
Carbon in trees and woodlands
Trees are a natural climate solution. Woodland owners can implement management strategies to store or sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Learn about the carbon in Minnesota’s trees and woodlands.
Managing different forest types
Below, we list forests by species, but there are many ways to classify and describe forest types.
For example, if you’re an advanced woodland owner or professional, you may also want to familiarize yourself with the Ecological Classification System from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The system describes and maps progressively smaller areas of Minnesota's four biomes or ecological provinces.
Knowing the tree species present in your woods is important in order to make proper management decisions.
Get the most out of your forest by improving its health and harvesting in a way that achieves woodland goals.
Silvicultural systems are described by how managers harvest and regenerate trees, from individually cutting some trees (single-tree selection) to cutting all the trees at once (clear-cutting).
Over the life of a stand, woodland owners and managers take steps to establish, grow, enhance and harvest their forests. The specific treatments or methods they use will depend on which silvicultural system they select.
Woodland owners and managers should work with professionals to select the best silvicultural system for their forest.
Intermediate treatments and woodland stand improvement are done after trees have been established or regenerated, but before final harvest. They are designed to improve the stand’s ability to grow, while enhancing its vigor, value and quality. Intermediate treatments include:
- Thinnings and woodland stand improvements.
- Removing undesirable species, such as through girdling.
- Applying herbicides.
When selling your timber, you will want to get the best offer while meeting woodland goals. Foresters can help along the way, from planning and marketing to harvests and making the sale.
Sampling and measuring timber
There are two ways to estimate how much timber you have. You can individually evaluate each tree, or set up sample plots and use them to estimate overall volume.
By measuring timber, you can better understand your woodland’s status and get critical information that can shape management plans and the treatments you use.
Contract for Minnesota timber harvests
Contracts protect woodland owners and buyers during timber sales and harvest operations.
View a sample Minnesota timber harvest contract (PDF). This sample document is for educational use only. Use it as a starting point for your own contract, but we encourage you to contact an attorney for help designing a timber sale contract that meets your specific needs.