A statewide team of foresters, managers, hydrologists, biologists, and planners collectively manage over 780,000 acres of forested state trust lands for the benefit of the common schools and other institutions in Montana. As state trust land managers, they work under the direction of the Board of Land Commissioners (the top five elected officials). The Forest Management Program accounts for approximately 10% of the Trust Land Management Division’s total revenue.
Forest Product Sales
Revenue from forested trust lands comes mainly from the sale of forest products. This program includes all activities required to grow, harvest, and sell forest products efficiently. All timber sales and permits are developed, analyzed, and reviewed in the field by foresters and resource specialists. The current annual sustained yield from trust lands is 56.9 million board feet.
The forest improvement program uses fees from harvested timber to improve the health, productivity, and income potential of forested trust lands.
Some forest improvements include:
- Tree planting
- Precommercial thinning
- Site preparation
- Prescribed burning
- Seed collection
- Access acquisition and road maintenance
- Noxious weed control
The forest inventory program is responsible for collection and analysis of forest resource inventory data. Development and maintenance of geographic information system (GIS) stand level resource data supports planning of forest management activities, environmental analyses, and other activities.
This program provides technical assistance to field staff in hydrology, soils, geology, fisheries, wildlife, road engineering, and many other divisions.
Technical assistance includes:
Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) preparation
Timber sale document review
Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) implementation
Resource Management also reviews, evaluates, and monitors activities on forested state trust lands.