Skip to main content

Forest Management Activity Cost Guide

Investing in forests provides long-term ecological, social, and economic benefits to forests, forestland owners, and society. However, small-scale family-owned forests (10 to 49 acres) in the Lake States (Mich., Minn., and Wis.) lack readily available passive resources to approximate the cost of managing their forestland; such information is accessible in other regions of the United States. To close the knowledge gap, an online survey was distributed to forest practitioners in 2022 to capture the cost of 21 forest management practices following an accounting approach. The survey results were analyzed through a break-even analysis and used to develop the Lake States Forest Management Activity Cost Guide. This publicly available online dashboard provides information to encourage transparent dialogue between forest practitioners and small-scale family forest owners. Monitoring and reporting changes in management costs remain essential for forest managers to plan for costs, provide data for future meta-analyses, and guide economic policy promoting ecosystems sustainably and a leading forest product economic sector within the Lake States region.​

Click the image above to open the interactive tool in a new window.


  • Identify the costs associated with various forest management activities. 
  • Develop a forest management activity cost guide for small-scale forest management in the Lake States (Mich., Minn., and Wis.). 
  • Foster a healthy dialog between family forest owners and forestland professionals and acknowledges that costs will likely differ due to accompanying management techniques, landowner goals, and unique ecosystem complexities. 
  • The long-term goal is to determine trends in forest management costs to understand the viability and sustainability of small-scale conservation practices around the Lake States.


  • Jeremy K. Natzke, M.S. in Natural Resources Management, UW-Stevens Point 
  • Paul Doruska, Professor of Forest Measurements and Statistics, UW-Stevens Point 
  • Melinda Vokoun, Associate Professor of Natural Resources Economics, UW-Stevens Point 
  • Shuva Gautam, Assistant Professor in the Department of Wood and Forest Sciences, Laval University 
  • Anna Haines, Director of the Center for Land Use Education, UW-Stevens Point 



For more information about the Forest Management Activity Cost Guide, contact the project leader, Jeremy Natzke.​