Finding common ground
on state's woods, forests
It was early February, but ideas
Here are some of the highlights, although we couldn’t attend all of the sessions.
“We have no good idea of what the climate will be 100 years from now,” he said, “but the result will be a change in forest composition.” Some people speculate that
He also touched on the deer problem – what kind of problem depends on whether you’re a tree grower or a hunter.
“Do you believe the DNR can’t count deer?” he asked. “We invite you to weigh in on deer. You can respond as a hunter or as a landowner. We’re not hearing a lot from the landowner,” he said.
The best way to make your voice heard, he said, is through the DNR Board. Information is available on the DNR's Public Participation page --
http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/nrboard/publicappearance.htm --where visitors can email, telephone or write to Laurie Ross, the board's liaison.
Woodland partnerships – DeLong and three other panelists discussed working relationships between private landowners and other agencies and entities. An important new development for woodland owners is the new farm bill for 2008, which added forests to the list of eligible programs for federal help through the National Resources Conservation Service, formerly the National Soil Conservation Service.
Landowners are now eligible to get help with building access roads, brush management, forest stand improvement from a limited pool of federal dollars, according to Greg Rebman of Tomahawk, a state forester who works with NRCS programs.
Watching your wildlife – Loren Hanson, president of the Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association, shared his trail camera success, and some
of the secrets to that success. He described the trail camera experience as a way of “having fun with your land.”
“This is a way you can see what’s in your woods – in detail,” he said. “The DNR has their ways of counting [deer],” he said. “Mine’s exact.”
While showing a wonderful array of photos bucks and does and fawns, turkey and raccoon and a coyote, Hansen offered some basic advice on choosing a trail camera:
Finding common ground
Hanson also covered a few possible problems with trail cameras.
“Ants love them,” he said. He now wipes the case with insect repellent and often puts a sticky band around the tree to prevent the ants from getting to the camera. If you have bears, they can be a problem, too. They love to tear up trail cameras, so you might need to put a special cage around them – making sure it doesn’t block the lens. If you worry your camera might be stolen, you can buy a steel locking cable.
Hanson said standard advice is to mount your camera 12 to 18 inches off the ground. A high angle might seem like the thing to do, but the pictures don’t turn out as well. He also suggested being aware of and optimizing the sun angle. Don’t set the camera staring straight into the sun.
He suggests using the landscape to your advantage, too.
“Deer are just like people – they’ll take the easiest route,” he said. So if you mount your camera along a trail you will have more success.
Managing your harvest – These are not good times for timber sales, according to John DuPlissis, an extension forester and professor of forestry at UW-Stevens Point. DuPlissis spoke at an afternoon Timber Sales session.
He said that the invasion of the Emerald Ash Borer had depressed oak values, because so many ash trees are being harvested for salvage, and overall markets are depressed because housing is depressed.
“We have an oversupply of wood in
The one bright spot, he said, is utility poles. If you have red pine 12 inches in diameter and at least 30 feet tall, you will be able to find buyers who will pay a good price for those.
DuPlissis also addressed a problem for owners of small woodlands.
He noted that owners of property in the Managed Forest Law program who have very small jobs face a problem finding loggers when they have certain scheduled cuttings that have to be done. It may leave them having to pay someone to cut the trees rather than receiving a payment.
He said many loggers “won’t bother unless you have 250 cords coming off your property." Sharing information and coordinating with your neighbors can help, because a simultaneous sale in the same area will provide enough volume to make it worth the logger’s time.
But even though markets are depressed, he said, if you hold onto harvestable trees you run risks. Wind or damage from insects or disease are always threats.
He also noted that to grow quality timber you have to get the trash trees and brush out of your woods, but “you won’t make any money off of that.”
-- Posted 2/12/10