Mr. B's Forestry Home
Welcome! This Web page is a collection of links to some of the multimedia productions
that I have been making for Wisconsin
Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry. These
presentations are all recorded using
Sonic Foundry's Mediasite - a system to create online training,
briefings and courses in a Web-streaming format.
Wisconsin's forests continue to
represent some of the state's most important assets.
While I am not responsible for the content of these presentations, I
do go out on location with all equipment necessary to record,
improvise the optimal set-up, coach presenters on the Mediasite
format, and work with each presenter to ensure that they are
comfortable with the process and equipment that is used.
These presentations are all "live takes" - there is not an opportunity
to go back, rerecord, or edit. Like everything else in life, it
necessitates compromises between an ideal and matters at hand.
I have assembled a large collection of online and print resources
to supplement and extend the coverage of forestry topics covered in
the Webcasts presented here. My goal is to help share information with
educators, students, and all those that are stakeholders in forest
These presentations are best viewed in Internet Explorer 6 or
higher. The formats used vary from traditional lecture
style presentations, to narrated slideshow, to a variety of streaming
The woodlands of Wisconsin have been an important part of human
culture for 11,000 years. Evidence shows that native Indians
cleared land by burning the stands of oak trees to provide habitat for
wildlife and horticulture.
When Europeans started settling in these lands, around the mid 1800's,
the territory of Wisconsin had more than two-thirds of its land area
covered with trees. It was part of a belt of woodlands that reached from New
England through the Great Lakes. The northern portions of the
state and the upper peninsula were the most heavily forested regions.
After the Civil War, in the late 1860s, logging became one of
Wisconsin's most important industry. The state became a world leader in lumber
production by 1893 with more than 3.5 billion board feet produced
annually. Logs were felled and transported to mills via the state's
many rivers - sawmills were common along waterways. The
emerging railways hauled the finished products to booming cities to
the south and west.
The most common tree was pine - it is estimated that 130 billion board
feet of high grade pine were harvested from Wisconsin by the end of
the 19th century. There were also large stands of hemlock,
spruce, cedar and hardwoods. As vast as the stocks of trees
were, demand across the developing United States was even greater.
The lumber boom started with the immense and plentiful pine trees.
As the rail network developed, demand for hardwoods increased and
soon, markets developed for less-desirable timber as well.
The forests of Wisconsin were largely clear-cut by 1900. This
clear-cutting created challenges, many of the effects are still felt
today. Cleared land was susceptible to wildfires, resulting in
loss-of-life and further destruction of timber resources.
As lumber companies cleared the land, they sold the tracts of cut-over
land to speculators that, in turn, marketed smaller sections of land
to newly arriving immigrants. Often these people were enticed to come to America by the
promise of owning land. They hoped to sustain
themselves and their families by farming.
The land, however, was covered with tree stumps and foliage that was
not economical to harvest. As this was cleared, the refuge was
usually burned, which lead to more problems with wildfires.
Sadly, much of the land that was sold to these
immigrants could not economically sustain agriculture. The sandy,
acidic soil that was perfect for pines and the old growth forests was not
suitable for agriculture crops. Those working these lands could
not support their families. Many settlers defaulted on their
financial obligations - the land was not what they were promised.
The clear-cutting, burning, and transition to agriculture dramatically
changed Wisconsin's forests and wildlife habitats. Species like
aspen and paper birch became the most common trees. Large
populations of whitetail deer and other wildlife also thrived in that
early transitional habitat.
By the 1930s, most of the state's valuable timberland had been cut
down or destroyed by fire. The timber industry had moved on. In 1936, the state conducted a
detailed inventory of its forestlands. The "old growth" trees
were largely gone - Wisconsin had very young forests.
Aspen-birch trees were the most common. These young stands
of trees, however, were not large enough to harvest. Wisconsin's
timber industry had died - logging operations moved west. It
would be many years before Wisconsin's forests could again support a
The good news is that by the mid 1900s, principles of sustainable
forest management were being developed. Wisconsin learned from
its past. Professional foresters, from the public and
private sectors, oversaw the re-growth of Wisconsin's forests.
Largely due to the foresight of conservation activists and foresters,
the woodlands of Wisconsin were able to make a dramatic comeback.
Once again, Wisconsin is America's lumber basket. Approximately
16 million acres of the state's 32 million total acreage is now
forested - not as many trees as before the European settlement, but a
huge improvement from the clear-cut era.
Most of this growth is a result of marginal agricultural land being
returned to forests. Today, hardwoods dominate Wisconsin's
forests, making up 84% of the trees. The most common trees are
maple-basswood, aspen-birch and oak-hickory.
Softwoods are also represented - especially in the northern parts of
Wisconsin where red pine, jack pine, black spruce, northern white
cedar, and tamarack are the most common trees.
Since the 1936 inventory after the clear-cut, aspen-birch woodlands
have steadily decreased. Red pine, jack pine, black spruce,
northern white maple-basswood, soft maple-ash, and oak-hickory forests
have increased. Conifer forest area has remained constant.
In Wisconsin, 70 percent, or 11.4 million acres of forests are
privately owned. The breakdown of acres and ownership is:
- Total forestland: 15.7 million acres
- Privately owned: 8.9 million acres
- Forest Industry: 4.7 million acres
- Industry: 1.1 million acres
- Federal: 2 million acres
- State: 200,000 acres
- Private Corp: .62 million acres
- Tribal Lands: .31 million acres
Forestry is again making a huge contribution to Wisconsin's economy as
the second largest industrial segment in the state, leading the nation
with $20 billion in shipments of forest products.
Wisconsin leads the nation in papermaking and in forest industry wages
- a $3.5 billion annual payroll. Forest-based recreation
is also an important economic activity in the state, brining in $3.5
billion in revenue.
The value of forests cannot be entirely quantified in dollars. Wisconsin's woodlands make significant contributions to the ecological
and social aspects of the state. Forests support wildlife. White
tail deer, black bear, gray wolf, fisher and ruff grouse are abundant
wildlife, thriving in Wisconsin's forests. Woodlands
attract visitors and residents to the state by providing recreational
and scenic settings.
But trees provide so much more than social and economic benefits,
Wisconsin's forests help clean the air and water. To produce
leaves and wood, forests take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, a
process called to carbon sequestration. Carbon dioxide is a
leading greenhouse gas that can contribute to global climate change -
trees play an important role in providing ecological balance.
In many ways, the rebirth of Wisconsin's forests represents a success
that demonstrates how industry, conservationists, and public and
private stakeholders can cooperate to manage resources.
The native forests of Wisconsin played an important role in the
development of America.
While those old growth forest resources were exhausted, today, the state is again able
to support this nation with a dynamic timber industry.
Quick Links to
Burning News Flash, "Into the Outdoors"
Home Improvements: A Firewise Approach
Firewise Landscaping, Part 1
Firewise Landscaping, Part 2
Firewise Landscaping, Part 3
Climate Changes & Effect on Wisconsin's Forests
Community Wildfire Protection Plans
Forest Futures: Taking Stock of Our Assets
Forest Story: Restoring Wisconsin's Treasure
Impact of MFL & Ag Use Assessment
Land Use/Demographic Changes & Impacts on Forests
Managed Forest Law (MFL) Changes
Prescribed Fire & Oak Management
Principles of Wildlife Management
To cut or not to cut? Part 1
To cut or not to cut? Part 2
Tree Planting & Reforestation in the CWD Zone
Wetland Restoration & Management
Woodland Damage from Wildlife
Drought Impact on Forest Pests - Jack Pine Budworm
Emerald Ash Borer: An Emerging Threat To Wisconsin's Forests
Emerald Ash Borer: The Green Menace
Forest Health Issues Including Emerald Ash Borer
Oak Wilt: Biology and Management in Wisconsin
Oak Wilt: Prevention & Management
Oak Wilt & Emerald Ash Borer
Sweet Stewardship: Managing for Maple Syrup
The Impact of China on Forest Industry in the Lake States
Markets for Forest Products
New Age Paper Mills
Reacting and Adjusting to Global Impacts
Wisconsin's Timber Resources, Current Markets and Concerns
Estate Planning Options
Fawn Lake - A Family Time Share
Property Ownership & Distribution: Who will get Grandma's yellow pie