Michigan Forests More than You Imagine!

Forest Facts

* For every five percent of tree cover added to a community, stormwater runoff is reduced by approximately two percent.

* Michigan's Total Land Base: 37 million acres, with 19.3 million forested acres.

* 57% of Michigan's forested land base, 11 million acres is owned by Family Forest Owners.

* 8%  or 1.5 million acres is in industrial private ownership.

* 21% or 4.1 million acres is owned by the State.

* 14%, or 2.7 million acres is in Federal ownership.

Why do Forests Matter?

Michigan is like no other place in the world. Surrounded by the Great Lakes, our woods, water and wildlife resources plus our winters make us the envy of a lot of neighboring states. Michigan is a destination state for millions of visitors every year because of our treasured natural resources. Our forests are special places and they mean something different to each and everyone of us. And, that's not a bad thing. 

Environmentally, they provide us with clean water, clean air, homes and food to many wildlife species, erosion control, and sanctuaries for rare and endangered plants and animals.

Economically, they provide the raw materials for our homes, schools, offices, furniture, medicines, paper, paints, plastics and many more products you might not realize come from trees. 

Historically, in just a little over 100 years time, our forests have gone from being largely abandoned, depleted cutover and burnt wastelands, to becoming healthy, thriving, productive assets contributing to the well being of all the state's citizens and countless visitors every year. 

You will be hard pressed to find a more impressive forest success story than what we have right here in Michigan. 

Top 10 Reasons People Own Family Forests*

1. Beauty and scenery
2. Family heritage
3. Privacy
4. Nature protection
5. Connected to home or cabin
6. Investment
7. Hunting or fishing
8. Part of farm or ranch
9. Hiking, snowmobiling, and other recreation
10. Timber Protection

*From the National Woodland Owner Survey

Who Own's Michigan's Forests?

Nearly sixty-five percent of Michigan's land base is in private ownership with the balance in public ownership.  Approximately fifty-three percent of the private ownership is held by non-industrial private landowners, commonly called family forest owners.  Family forest owners are a diverse, dynamic and numerous.  They are pivotal for the protection and sustainable management of forests across Michigan's landscape.  

Are You a Family Forest Owner?

You are a family forest owner if you have an acre or more of land with trees on at least ten percent of your land.  If you own that forest as an individual, a couple, a family partnership, or some other grouping of unincorporated individuals, you are a family forest owner!  There are more than 440,000 family forest owners in Michigan today and that number is growing.

As a family forest owner, you have an important role to play in the management of Michigan's forests.  Active management of this land base, whether for recreation, hunting, timber or wildlife, is very beneficial and will provide many immediate and lasting benefits.  

How Can Family Forest Owners Meet the Challenges of the Future?

By becoming more informed about the forest resource they manage and the decisions they make and by becoming involved in actively managing their forest resource.  Learn more and get involved by utilizing the education opportunities available for family forest owners through Michigan's Conservation District offices across the state!

Helpful Links: 

Forest Health
Emerald Ash Borer Info 
Forest Management
Qualified Forest Property Act 
Watershed Forestry Resource Guide 
Forest Stewardship - Estate Planning
Family Forest Owner Toolbox 
Sustaining Our Young Forests Video
Forestry Organizations
American Forest Foundation
Michigan Forest Association
Michigan Society of American Foresters 
USDA Forest Service - Northeastern 
Michigan DNR Forest Stewardship
Conservation District Tree Sales

USDA National Agroforestry Center
Working Trees Series
(PDF files)

Working Trees for Agriculture
Working Trees for Carbon: Windbreaks
Working Trees Coloring Book
Working Trees for Communities
Working Trees for Energy
Working Trees for Livestock
Working Trees: Silvopasture
Working Trees Living: Snowfence
Working Trees for Treating Waste
Working Trees for Wildlife
Working Trees for Water Quality