Frequently Asked Forestry Questions

  • What is a consulting forester?

    A consulting forester is a professional forester with a forestry degree from an accredited university program. A consultant’s provides forestry advice to landowners based on education experience and scientific evidence. Consultants do not have financial interests in purchasing timber. Their main focus is to sustainably manage forest lands for the private landowner who hires them. Forestry consultants possess different ranges of expertise.  Finding the “right” consultant to best fit your needs is important.

  • What questions should I ask a forester?

    When selecting a private consulting forest, inquire about these matters:

    • Do they practice Sustainable Forest Management?  Sustainable forestry manages for environmental, economic and long term goals
    • Will they listen to your objectives?
    • What Insurance do they carry? (liability, errors and omissions, workers’ compensation insurance)
    • Will they oversee your entire project or just write you a management plan?
    • Do they have the skills your job may require? Examples: Do they hire reputable loggers? Can they scale logs? Are they accredited for Plan writing?
    • References
    • Years and type of experience
    • Education
    • Fee structures (hourly, percentage, per acre basis);
  • Why hire a consulting forester?

    Hiring a forester will help you achieve your management goals. They will inform you about your unique options of the forest on your property. The right forester for you will personalize plans to not only sustainably manage your forest but advice you how to achieve your personal landownership goals. Foresters have backgrounds in ecology, economics, legal issues and sustainable harvesting practices. The combination of a college-level education and on-the-job training contributes to their expertise. Foresters can help you to inventory your natural resources, conduct Timber Stand Improvement (TSI), harvest timber and make an estate plans. They are also your number one resource for wildlife habitat improvement and other ecosystem service management.

  • What is Wisconsin Managed Forest Law or MFL?

    According to the Wisconsin DNR, The Managed Forest Law (MFL) program is a landowner incentive program that encourages sustainable forestry on private woodland. In exchange for following sound forest management, the landowner pays reduced property taxes. It was enacted in 1985 and replaced the Woodland Tax Law and the Forest Crop Law.

    Landowners can see as much as 75% savings in your woodland property taxes.  In order to enroll your Wisconsin land in the MFL program, you must work with a certified plan writer. As a MFL Certified Plan Writer, Sound Forest Management, can help you through the process while creating a personalized forest management plan that will meet the MFL criteria. Additionally, we will submit this plan and the application to the program for review, along with a detailed map.

  • Is your MFL Plan due for renewal?

    Whether you are looking to sign up for a brand new MFL plan or it is time for you to renew your MFL plan, we can write the MFL Plan you need. We can also make adjustments to MFL plans already in place. Our forest management team typically provides our clients 25-50 year plans. Outlined for you are the planned forest management activities that will take place on your land in the enrollment term. Our plans are easily put into action in the future because we take the time to meet with landowners and find out their ownership goals. Then we take detailed ground inventory to create custom MFL plans.

  • Pricing & Questions to Ask Certified MFL Plan Writers

    If you are price shopping, you will find MFL Plan Writers who are cheaper than us. Questions you should ask them: Are  they doing in person landowner meeting (on the property if possible)? Will they be on your property taking inventory? Or simply writing your plan from their office through aerial photos and previous MFL Plans? Will they help enact future MFL requirements like administer a timber sale? In these cases, we find that once you have to put your MFL Plans into action these plans are not accurate at all. It will take a new forester extra time to correct errors and create the correct plan of action which is monitored by the DNR.

    This is not how Sound Forest Management creates MFL Plans. Whether it is an MFL Plan or any other Forest management plan we create a blue print customized to your specific property. In it are all of the details and steps to meet your landowner goals while promoting the health of your forest. A good MFL Plan will provide the description of your lands current state. Then it outline present and future recommended forestry management activities. Finally a step by step detailed plan for implementation and a timeline for completion is necessary. A plan should incorporate both long-term (greater than 25 yrs.) and short-term (less than 25 yrs.) goals.


  • What is the biggest benefit of hiring a consultant?

    Forest management is based upon standard practices and the goals of the forest owner. Forestry has many technical and financial aspects. A consultant will be able to guide a landowner through a decision-making process. Few forest owners rank revenue high among their priorities, but they purchased their property for a reason. A consultant can help an owner achieve ownership goals with sustainable forest management. Forest ecology and habitat enhancement are often more complicated than most people realize. A long term plan is needed to meet these goals.

    Timber sales can be daunting. Using the services of an experienced consultant to implement management plan recommendations greatly reduces the risk of adverse results. You want your forest to regenerate while achieving goals like road creation. Should harvests occur you need timber sale contracts and market knowledge. Marketing the trees to the best loggers takes experience. Loggers also have a range of abilities and equipment configurations. A practiced eye to administer and monitor the sale will help avoid misunderstandings. It also provides a layer of protection to the sale. Income tax implications are significant and should be accommodated in timber sale design.

    The experience of a consultant will implement particular forestry practices or timber sales, within the constraints of forest owner goals and property limitations.

  • What does Sound Forest Management offer landowners?
    Property owners worry that they won’t find the right forester who will protect their land. Sound Forest Management creates a plan to meet your landowner goals without sacrificing the health of your forest. At Sound Forest Management, we value your land and bring the experience necessary to enhance your property. We create personal relationships with our clients to under your unique goals. We provide guidance and support to meet your long term property goals.
    As a forestry consulting firm, we are in it for the long haul! Sound Forest Management will work from start to finish with clients on their projects to ensure that they are completed seamlessly and according to plan. Most landowners may only conduct a few major management activities over their lifetime. Sound Forest Management is here to help you through these processes to ensure the activities are completed successfully. This includes meeting your goals and protecting your natural resources. We want you to be proud of the land legacy you leave to your children.
  • Philosophy

    “Managed Forest: Your Legacy, Their Future!” It is truly a privilege to own land resources within the USA. And as property owners, we can influence these uniquely designed ecosystems in many different ways to meet our personal desires. When we are actively managing our landscapes and natural resources, finding balance is the key between utilization and preservation that will allow for harmony to be maintained. We have witnessed great alterations to the land from the past as our nation grew at exponential rates. And now we are healing from sum of the un-sound practices that were thought of as acceptable standards. Our forests have proven to be resilient to some extent and have weathered through time. But the resilience will fade after repeated unsustainable offenses. Remember, finding balance is the key.

    “We can use our forests in a way that will benefit our current needs while at the same time encourage and enhance the resource to be enjoyed for future generations. Land management is a perpetual long term endeavor that requires vision, good planning, and endurance. The great cutover from the mid 1800’s to the early 1900’s capitalized and temporarily exhausted our forest. These practices have shaped our current forest and provided resources to build the foundation of our communities. Those practices belong in the past and should not be forgotten. New management methods that are ethical and sustainable should be employed to allow for utilize of our forest to meet our needs while still remaining healthy and productive. Managing with a purpose and a plan will provide good reason when the industry is attacked by uninformed anti-management organizations and groups.

  • Service Area

    We work in a 30 mile radius of zip code 54470. This makes our primary counties of service Taylor, Price & Lincoln.
    Our secondary counties of service are: Clark, Wood, Marathon, Ashland, Iron, Onieda, Rusk & Sawyer
    Large acreage Landowners will be considered on a case by case basis.

  • I am not in your service area. How do I find a local forester?

    Referral from satisfied landowners is a great way to find a local forester. Going to your local DNR office for a recommendation is also a good path. Internet searches as a starting point then you must check their qualifications.

    Use this tool WI DNR Certified Plan Writer Directory:  Select your county. Then select Cooperating forester

    A certified plan writer is a cooperating forester certified by the DNR to write Managed Forest Law (MFL) plans. Certification is granted to individual foresters. Certified plan writers are the only private consulting foresters who can write management plans for the MFL program.


  • Types of Landowners we work with

    Timber Investment Land Holders
    Private Landowners
    Family Legacies & Trusts

  • Why Log your Timber?