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The Natural Resources Management Department is the manager of state tax-forfeited and natural resource fee lands on behalf of the
people of the County. The main activity of the department is the management of the forest resources. As the manager of forest resources,
the department operates on a commercial basis and is required to ensure that an optimal financial return is attained from the use of the
forest lands. At the same time the department also has a duty to the people of the County to maintain the recreational and other social
values of the forest resource and to protect the long-term sustainability of the resource.
This means balancing the commercial value of the forest with the recreational and other social values, while at the same time ensuring
the lands are ecologically sustainable. In order to achieve the full range of benefits that forests can provide, now and in the future,
the department has developed this Statement of Operational Commitment that outlines the commitments made in the Sustainable Forest
Managing our forests in a sustainable manner calls for policies that can be adapted to accommodate change. Change may result from
new information about forest ecology and community attitudes, new management strategies and techniques, and commercial and non-commercial
opportunities for forest use. This Statement provides a framework within which change can be identified and accommodated to ensure that
the people of the County derive optimal benefit from forest lands.
Through our Sustainable Forest Management System we commit to:
The Natural Resources Management Department is committed to maintaining a permanent forest resource that delivers the full range of
benefits that forests can provide now and in the future. This entails protecting the integrity and longevity of forest lands. To protect
the integrity and longevity of forest lands the department will:
The Natural Resources Management Department will comply with all applicable environmental and social laws, regulations and
other requirements to which the department makes a commitment to adhere. The department will also comply with the Minnesota Voluntary
Site-Level Forest Management Guidelines and other best management practices. To ensure compliance the department will:
Forest Certification is the voluntary, independent assessment of an organization's forest management activities and operations
undertaken for a particular area of forest. Independent forest certification has been developing since the early 1990s, driven by market
requirements for quality assurance, community concerns about sustainability issues, and policy makers seeking to balance environmental,
social, and economic considerations in natural resource management. Once a forest has been awarded certification its wood products can
be identified as being sourced from a sustainably managed forest.
The Natural Resources Management Department is committed to the standards of sustainable forest management as defined in the
objectives and performance measures of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and/or the principles of the Forest Stewardship Council
(FSC). To this end the department will seek and maintain independent third-party forest certification to the FSC and/or SFI standards.
To achieve our commitment to FSC and/or SFI we will design, implement, and establish a sustainable forest management system (SFMS).
Through our SFMS we will:
The protection of the full range of forest ecosystems and other environmental values is fundamental to sustainable forest
management. It entails the maintenance of the ecological processes that sustain forest ecosystems and the conservation of the biological
diversity associated with forests (particularly endangered and vulnerable species and communities). Conserving biodiversity through
forest management has at least three different components:
The Natural Resources Management Department will strive to maintain each of the three components outlined above by:
Protecting the conservation and commercial values of forests necessitates protecting forest areas from potentially harmful
effects of diseases, weeds, pests (including feral animals), chemical, and wildfire. It also involves preserving the productive capacity
of the forest through conservation of nutrients and protecting the soils. The Natural Resources Management Department gives high priority
to the protection of public forests from damaging agents. We will protect the health of the forest by:
Simply put, healthy soils promote healthy ecosystems. We will protect soil productivity by:
We will promote a healthier forest with better trees by:
For both environmental and commercial reasons the Natural Resources Management Department seeks to use the minimum quantities
of chemical in its operations. We will minimize the use of forest chemicals through:
When chemicals are used, we will establish and follow procedures to ensure that:
A riparian area is the area of land and water forming a transition zone from aquatic to terrestrial ecosystems along streams,
lakes, and open-water wetlands. Riparian areas are among the most important and diverse part of the forest ecosystems. They support high
soil moisture and a diversity of associated vegetation and wildlife, and they perform important ecological functions that link aquatic and
terrestrial ecosystems. To protect the functions and values of riparian areas the Natural Resources Management Department will:
Visual quality is an important aspect of managing the multiple values of our forest resource. By limiting the aesthetic impacts
of forest management activities, wherever practicable, we can enhance the value of forested lands for recreational users. This can result
in a healthy tourism economy. We can also retain public acceptance of forest management and timber harvesting, thereby helping to sustain
a healthy forest products industry.
To limit the aesthetic impacts of our activities the Natural Resources Management Department will plan and conduct our
operations so that we:
The Natural Resources Management Department is comitted to reserving or establishing special management regimes for those areas
of our forest lands that have special conservation value. We call these values "special attributes" and they encompass:
Different types of special attributes require different levels of protection. In some cases, we can simply establish a small
buffer area and prohibit operating activities within the area. In others, such as old growth stands, more active management protocols
are required. However, in all cases we will ensure that the "special attribute" is protected by:
Efficient utilization is about ensuring that we realize the full value of the resource, do not create waste, and maximize the
use of trees that we harvest. The Natural Resources Management Department will promote efficient utilization by:
Northern Minnesota is renowned for its outdoor recreation opportunities, vast tracts of wilderness, and extensive freshwater
resources. The most popular recreational pursuits include hunting, camping, snowmobiling, hiking, fishing, ATV riding, wildlife watching,
off-road bicycling, cross-country skiing, and berry picking. Enhancing recreation value is both a social and economic benefit to the
people of the county by providing a source of tourism as well as local recreation.
Proper forest recreation management should enhance the recreation experience, while at the same time, complement and protect
the forest resource. Uncontrolled, poorly designed or over-used recreational development can threaten the very resource that provides the
recreational value. The Natural Resources Management Department will:
An enhanced, better coordinated, and better focused research and development effort is essential if we are to achieve
sustainability. Further research is needed in a number of broad subject areas: forest ecosystems and biological diversity; resource
evaluation and inventory; the ecological and environmental impact of forest distubance and management regimes; forest protection covering
disease, pest, and fire; silvicultural techniques; forest productivity; and other non-wood aspects of forests such as wildfire management,
recreation, and cultural and heritage values. The Natural Resources Management Department will incorporate research and technology into
our planning processes and operations by:
We are committed to fostering understanding of and support for ecologically sustainable forest management, by providing greater
opportunities for the public to obtain information about forest ecology, the management of forests, and the diverse social and economic values
of our forests.
This will enable the people of the County to make a more considered contribution to forest management issues.
The Natural Resources Management Department will individually, or in cooperation with other private or public organizations in
the State, engage in efforts to promote public education. The department will:
It is important that the Natural Resources Management Department be accountable for the stewardship of public lands and to be
responsive to public input and concerns in the management of those lands. We take all input seriously and will consider any input we receive.
It is the intent of the department to:
We are committed to being open and transparent about our performance. The Natural Resources Management Department will provide
clear and complete information to the public by:
Some County-managed lands are located within or adjacent to native reservations. In addition, our resource management activities
may be conducted in areas where there may be resources of cultural, historical, or religious significance to local native communities.
As a results the Natural Resources Management Department will:
The success of our performance depends on our employees and the many independent field operators that operate on our lands.
The Natural Resources Management Department will:
Sustainability is about learning and adapting. The Natural Resources Management Department will improve its performance by
implementing processes that help us assess how well we are doing and take action to change our practices when they do not meet the performance
measures we have set. We will: