Forest Protection in Wisconsin

Wisconsin's 16 million acres of forests need careful management and protection, for public enjoyment, the tourism industry, the timber industry and wildlife. Forested watersheds also help to filter rain and snowfall to produce clean flowing rivers and underground aquifers. Most forested land is in the northern part of the state.

Wisconsin Forest Challenges

Conflicting Uses


Wisconsin's forests serve conflicting needs, with loggers often at odds with wildlife and recreational users. And recreational users often conflict with each other, as snowmobiles annoy cross-country skiers in the winter, and all-terrain vehicles annoy hikers and birdwatchers in the summer. Our northern forests, worthy of wilderness designation, are shrinking steadily, with new calls for timber road building every year.

Diseases and Insects

New insects and diseases threaten Wisconsin's forests in several ways. The gypsy moth, tent caterpillar, and birch borer are firmly entrenched, along with oak wilt. The emerald ash borer was discovered in Wisconsin in July 2008 and in Brown County in 2009. According to the WI DNR, there are an estimated 834 million ash trees in Wisconsin forests. As of 6/30/17, the Emerald Ash Borer has been confirmed in 41 counties in Wisconsin. These pressures combined with climate change will change Wisconsin's forests.

Global Warming and Air Pollution

Climate projections show a definite warming trend ahead for Wisconsin, which could drastically impact the forests of the state. Declining rainfall, increasing evaporation and declining snow cover could conspire to weaken or kill several important tree species. The changes may occur fairly rapidly, making adaptation or gradual tree line migration difficult.


Wisconsin Forest Management - Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources -

Current information on where the Emerald Ash Borer has been confirmed can be found at:

Wisconsin State Forests –

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forests -

Wisconsin County Forests -

What You Can Do -

© Clean Water Action Council

P.O. Box 9144

Green Bay, WI 54308

(920) 421-8885

Office location:
A307 MAC Hall, UW-Green Bay
2420 Nicolet Drive
Green Bay, WI 54311