About Forest History
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With careful management, forests can accommodate many of our society's economic, recreational and aesthetic needs. During the 1800s, forest resources were treated as consumable commodities rather than renewable resources.
Under the current forest use revolution, focus has shifted to ensuring sustainability and health of the forests. Industries, government entities, individual landowners, environmental organizations and consumers all play a part in maintaining our forest resources.
In Minnesota, the legal underpinnings for forestry policy and use stem from the Sustainable Forest Resources Act of 1995. According to this law, it is the policy of the state to:
In addition, the law establishes a Forest Resources Council to implement its initiatives and to advise local, state and federal government entities on forest policies and practices. The council is comprised of representatives from commercial logging contractors, conservation organizations, county land departments, environmental interests, forest products industry, game species management, labor organizations, Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, nonindustrial private forest landowners , research and higher education , resort and tourism industry, secondary wood products manufacturers, and the USDA Forest Service.
Even with such a diverse group of professionals working on forest resource issues, the general public still has a considerable role to play. As consumers, we manage the forests and determine forest outcomes by how we purchase forest-based products: lumber, paper, cardboard, newspapers, magazines, and furniture. We manage forests by how we use the forests in our recreational activities and we manage forests by how we feel about them, their use and our need for areas of solitude. Further, we manage forests when we vote for our government representatives.
Clearly, Minnesota citizens help manage our natural resources through the individual and collective actions they take. Under the More Information section of this site, you'll find a host of Internet resources to learn more about the various participants, their roles and initiatives they've established as stewards of the forests.
Photo courtesy Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
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