Wisconsin has a total land area of about 34.7 million acres, and about 46% of that area is covered by trees. In the late 1800s or early 1900s, most of Wisconsin timber was cut down for agriculture or just for plain old timber itself. I continue to believe that Wisconsin’s forest is being cut down at an alarming rate due to the need for agricultural land. I believe this because every time I go up north where I hunt, I continue to see the very forests I hunted in getting cut down and used for cranberry bogs or for potato, corn, or soybean fields. However, my eyes have only seen a specific part of Wisconsin get changed drastically by deforestation.
On the contrary, Wisconsin is gaining more forested land ever than before. This is due to multiple factors, but one that is most important is that about more than 50% of Wisconsin forested land is owned by individual landowners. The DNR has continued to educate landowners on the benefit of forest management and wildlife habitat and it seems to be working well. The DNR can help landowners figure out when certain areas are ready to be cut and help identify changes within the woodlot. In addition to the DNR helping landowners, the landowners also receive property tax relief because they either manage their land for recreation, timber income, or wildlife habitat. Therefore, my initial thought of Wisconsin forests being cut down at an alarming rate was wrong and the DNR has actually allowed for Wisconsin’s forests to flourish.