Article #124, October 2007
By Bill Cook
Who owns the forest? Of course, the owner of the property gets to decide what happens on the property. So, many predictions might be made by knowing something about the mix of forest ownership.
the Upper Peninsula, there is about nine million acres of forest, covering over
80 percent of our landscape. Activities on the forest affect not only the owner,
but all the people who live here, visit here, and benefit from such a spectacular
region as the U.P.
Our forests are more than just a pretty face. For many reasons, the forest has a wide variety of conditions and opportunities. It is far from the same thing across the region.
The ownership patterns are unique, and important.
half is public and roughly half private. The public sector is dominated by national
forests and state forests. The private sector is dominated by corporate forest
and non-industrial forest. These four sectors represent different management
styles and recreational opportunities.
Ottawa and Hiawatha National Forests are owned by 300 million U.S. citizens.
They are managed for a variety of purposes with a considerable amount of forest
set aside for purposes other than timber harvest. They are managed under a set
of guidelines established by the U.S. Congress and interpreted by a set of rules
created by the U.S. Forest Service in Washington, D.C.
National Parks occupy about 575,000 acres in the U.P., mostly in Isle Royale and the Pictured Rocks. Recreation and research are the main purposes, with virtually no timber harvest. They contain land with extraordinary characteristics.
term state forest means forest land administered through the DNR
for multi-purposes. Most of the state-owned 1.8 million acres in the U.P. fall
under state forest jurisdiction. Other state-owned forest is managed as parks
and special areas, generally off-limits to timber harvest. The difference is
important, in that the lands are managed quite differently.
course, all state lands are owned by about 10 million people; the citizens of
Michigan. Management planning has far less bureaucracy than the national forests,
but the difference grows smaller each year.
the private side, about two million acres are managed by timber investment corporations.
A few years back, most of these lands were owned by forest industry, such as
Mead Papers and International Paper. Ownership re-organization has separated
ownership of the paper mills from the land base, a national trend.
of new forest owners include Plum Creek, GMO, and The Forestland Group. For
the most part, these corporate forests are managed with timber production as
the main emphasis and most of the land is enrolled in the Commercial Forest
Program (CFP). The CFP opens the forest to hunting, fishing, and trapping. Corporate
owners also allow other recreational uses across most of their forest land.
second sector of private ownership in the U.P. involves about 55,000 parcels
owned by individuals or small groups. Most of the roughly three million acres
are managed with a mix of timber, wildlife, and recreation objectives. These
are the hunting camps and recreational properties for which the U.P. is so famous.
Acreages range from a few acres to many thousands of acres.
assistance comes from a number of sources, such as forestry consultants, Tree
Farm Program, Michigan Forest Association, state tax programs, and conservation
districts. However, many forest owners have yet to engage professional natural
management is one thread that ties all these ownerships together. Regardless
of ownership objectives or future vision of the forest condition, management
provides the greatest opportunity for success. The forests of the U.P. not only
hold the promise of our future, but will affect people throughout the Midwest
and across the USA. They are too valuable of a resource to leave unattended.
We fail to manage them at our own peril.
- 30 -
Bill Cook is an MSU Extension forester providing educational programming for the entire Upper Peninsula. His office is located at the MSU Upper Peninsula Tree Improvement Center near Escanaba. The Center is the headquarters for three MSU Forestry properties in the U.P., with a combined area of about 8,000 acres. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 906-786-1575.
by Bill Cook, Forester/Biologist, Michigan State University Extension, 6005
J Road, Escanaba, MI 49829
906-786-1575 (voice), 906-786-9370 (fax), e-mail: email@example.com
of these articles is encouraged. Please notify Bill Cook.
By-line should read "Bill Cook, MSU Extension" Please use the article trailer whenever possible.
Michigan State University is an affirmative action equal opportunity institution. The U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital status or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)
This website is maintained by Bill Cook, Michigan State University Extension Forest in the Upper Peninsula. Comments, questions, and suggestions are gratefully accepted.
Last update of this page was 1 October, 2007
This site is hosted by School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science at Michigan Technological University.