Forest Sustainability Framework: Overview

Wisconsin's Forest Sustainability Framework was developed by the Wisconsin Council on Forestry and supported by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Linking Monitoring to Action

Wisconsin's Forest Sustainability Framework (Framework) lays out a blueprint for gathering data to assess the sustainability of forests in Wisconsin. Although the Framework itself does not include any data, it does create a common language and unbiased set of metrics to discuss sustainability. The strength of the Framework lies in the fact that it was built by a distinguished group of individuals representing all facets of forestry: private landowner groups, conservation organizations, academic institutions, Native American tribes, industry, government, and non-profits. This is a document for all Wisconsinites, not just for particular groups or agencies.

To read an introduction to the Framework, including an overview of the report's organization and major themes, please read An Introduction to Wisconsin's Forest Sustainability Framework. Additional copies of this report are available from the Wisconsin DNR.


The indicators found within this report provide a recipe for gathering information on the current status and trends of forests in Wisconsin. These indicators will act as measuring sticks; they will tell us what current conditions and trends are, but they will not tell us what the desired conditions should be. Determining the desired conditions or benchmarks of sustainability will be part of a larger conversation that can be addressed in the next Statewide Forest Assessment (Assessment) to be completed in 2010, and Statewide Forest Plan (Plan). Collecting data for the Framework is a large task requiring data from multiple sources and partners; collaboration from all partners will be crucial to the report's success.

It is important to note that the measurements proposed in this Framework are not exhaustive and often cannot singularly indicate forest sustainability. Measurements should be used in tandem to assess sustainability at a more comprehensive level.

Using the structure developed by the Framework, the Statewide Forest Assessment will compile and interpret forest data, identifying critical issues and highlighting successes in sustainable forest management. Once complete, the Assessment may be used by forest managers, policy makers, researchers, resource professionals, and the general public to understand the trends and conditions on our state's public and private forests.


This report was produced by an Advisory Committee of the Council on Forestry. The Advisory Committee was charged with developing a scientific framework using a diverse range of published material and scientific data. For a year, the Committee met to discuss what indicators and data sources should be included in the Framework. After developing an initial draft in August 2007, the report went through expert, tribal, and public reviews. Many of the thoughtful comments and edits from the review process were incorporated into this final Framework. Information in this report is presented in a factual manner, without value-based interpretation.

Final Report and Next Steps

The final framework was presented to the Council on Forestry on December 18, 2007. The Council unanimously approved the report. The Division of Forestry recommended to the Council that the Framework be included as part of the statewide planning process, specifically as a tool to implement the next Statewide Forest Assessment and update the Statewide Forest Plan. The Division of Forestry is starting to plan the process for conducting the Assessment and will continually inform the Council on their progress and post progress on the DNR website.