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University of Minnesota Extension

How to get a woodland stewardship plan

A woodland stewardship plan from the Minnesota DNR can help you identify and achieve goals for your land. 

You can download or read online Woodland Stewardship: A Practical Guide for Midwestern Landowners. This guidebook provides information for woodland owners interested in identifying goals for their property and working with a professional forester to choose the best management practices. The book is also available in print.

See our resources for starting out as a woodland steward. There is advice for those who are new owners as well as anyone interested in volunteering on lands owned by others.

What is a Minnesota Woodland Stewardship Plan?

Woodland Stewardship Plans are a specific kind of woodland management plan through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Plans are prepared by a natural resource professional in your local area. A Minnesota DNR Woodland Stewardship Plan is unique to your woods and helps you identify what's in your woods, how to improve the health and beauty of your woods, and when to take action.

Woodland owners with 20 to 5,000 acres, with at least 10 acres that have or will have trees, are eligible.

What you'll receive

Unlike some management plans, a Woodland Stewardship Plan provides a comprehensive overview of your land. This includes:

  • An aerial photo.
  • A map of the forest cover types and plant communities.
  • Written information about each of the cover types and plant communities found on your land.
  • Specific recommendations to help you achieve your stated goals. These aren’t binding, but most landowners find them to be a useful guide in their forest management activities.

Sign up for a plan or learn more by contacting your nearest Minnesota DNR Forestry office.

Get help preparing your plan

Foresters trained in woodland stewardship from the DNR, and public and private organizations can write your plan. This list of approved Minnesota stewardship plan preparers shows natural resource professionals who are approved to write Woodland Stewardship Plans in Minnesota.

These public and private foresters can also advise on woodland care and management, make timber estimates and help you sell your timber.

The cost of a plan depends on the forester and the size of your woods. You can qualify for woodland tax and financial incentive programs if you register your Woodland Stewardship Plan with the DNR.

Cost-share funds are also available for woodland improvement projects. These options can have a big impact on your bottom line.

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