Landowners who need help with their forests should soon find that Michigan’s Registered Forester program has an up-to-date online database and a new complaint review process.
Those changes are part of a restructuring process as oversight of the registered forester program moves to the DNR from the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
“The new program is the ideal source for landowners to find highly qualified foresters to help them manage their forestland,” said Deb Begalle, chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division. Begalle will be responsible for appointing a seven-member board to oversee the program.
The voluntary program has undergone a four-year restructuring process that includes required continuing education for registered foresters, appointment of the board and a moderate fee increase to help pay for maintaining and promoting the program.
A bill introduced in 2014 in the state Legislature would have abolished the registered forester program, but Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed it after protest from foresters across the state. Snyder signed a law in April of this year to move oversight of the revamped program to the DNR.
“This is a voluntary program that encourages higher standards for Michigan’s foresters,” Begalle said. Nearly two-thirds of Michigan’s 20 million acres of forest are privately owned; the state manages an estimated 4 million acres of public forest.