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Private Land Forest Management for Wildlife

Family forest owners (FFOs) are the single largest owners of forested land in the United States. However, they tend to own relatively small parcels, 1-9 acres being the most commonly purchased, and own those parcels for aesthetic/wildlife reasons rather than timber production. As a result, forest management is much less common on family-owned forest parcels and is on the decline. To counteract these barriers, we need to look at alternative ways of managing family-owned forests. Two potential options are cooperative cross-boundary management and micro-silvicultural treatments (MST). Cross-boundary cooperative management is coordinated planning and management on neighboring properties to obtain agreed-upon management goals. MSTs integrate small, 5 acre or less, intensive harvests and reserve patches within a matrix of thinning to create a continuously harvestable, multi-aged stand. In this project we aim to understand what makes a cross-boundary cooperative successful as well as the impact of MST on oak regeneration and white-tailed deer.


  • Develop a network of MST demonstration sites with self-guided tours.
  • In partnership with DMAP (Deer Management Assistance Program), gain an understanding of the difference between cross-boundary cooperatives that implement management and those that do not.
  • Develop a model for predicting oak regeneration given site characteristics and local deer densities.
  • Evaluate the impact of MSTs on white-tailed deer.


Haley E. Frater, R. H. Holsman, T. R. Van Deelen, R. R. Nack & A. R. Rissman (2023) How Aspects of Collective Action Relate to Implementation of Cooperative Management Among Private ​Landowners​, Society & Natural Resources, doi: 10.1080/08941920.2023.2203096​


  • Haley Frater, DMAP/Private Lands Team Lead, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
  • Mike Demchik, Professor of Silviculture, UW-Stevens Point


  • Tim Van Deelen, UW-Madison
  • Adena Rissman, UW-Madison
  • Dustin Bronson, U.S.​​​​ Forest Service
  • Bob Holsman, DJ Case​ & Associates​
  • Deer Management Assistance Program, 
  • Forest Regeneration Metric, Wisconsin DNR
  • USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture McIntire-Stennis Capacity Grant