This training series provides an introduction to the knowledge, skills, and abilities to plan, design, and install Forest Stand Improvement (CPS666). Additional training may be needed.

Practice Specific


Training Type
Online Learning

United States


1. Knowledge of tree identification

Title Description
Tech Talk: Dendrology 101 Callie Bertsch, NRCS State Forester, and Jon Sellnow, TTCP Coordinator, present the basics of tree and woody shrub identification of native Minnesota species. They look at identification by family groups, leaf structure, bark, when the trees bloom or leaf out and when they change color in the fall, and even take a look at common forest health issues that affect each species. All things to help you identify the species to better take inventory and identify resource concerns when working with private landowners.
Tree Identification University of Minnesota resources for the identification of trees: Tree Identification Cards that can be downloaded and printed, Beginners Guide to Minnesota Trees, and Winter Identification Key


2. Knowledge of forest ecology and management including tree regeneration

Title Description
Introduction to Conservation Forestry This course informs conservation planners about basic forest ecology and forest management practices to establish a foundation for implementing forestry and agroforestry conservation practices. Planners will learn about common objectives of forest landowners, threats to forests, the forest inventory process, forest management plans, and laws, regulations, and permits related to forest management. The course includes client stories to demonstrate the planning process with clients who have diverse forest types across the United States.
Tech Talk Replay: Forestry Resource Concerns Tech Talk replay from May 4, 2020. Celie Borndal, NRCS State Forester, reviews common forestry resource concerns and planning criteria.
Enhancing Mast (food) Production for Woodland Wildlife Fruit from trees and shrubs (aka mast) is a significant source of food for many wildlife species. This webinar will explore a variety of mast producing trees and shrubs found in eastern deciduous woodlands, as well as, their role in sustaining the wildlife species that depend on them. It will explore on some of the techniques, including crop tree management that can be employed to enhance the diversity and productivity of these woodland mast producers. (Time: 1:05)
What’s at risk? Implications of climate change on forests and options for adaptation Climate change is altering forest ecosystems, with many changes expected by the end of the 21st century. Forests vary widely, and not all forests are equally at risk; vulnerabilities are strongly influenced by regional differences in climate impacts and adaptive capacity. Further, as an increasing amount of scientific information on forest vulnerability to climate change becomes available, natural resource managers are searching for ways to realistically use this information to meet specific management needs, ranging from landscape-level planning and coordination to onthe-ground implementation.
Crop Tree Management for Forest Stand Improvement This webinar provides insight into how meeting the sunlight needs of individual crop trees can facilitate Forest Stand Improvement efforts. (Time: 00:56)


3. Knowledge of silvics of tree species to be managed

Title Description
NPC Silviculture Strategies for Forest Stand Prescriptions The Division of Forestry has developed silviculture strategies to inform sustainable forest management in Minnesota. These documents include information on the following key elements for each native plant community (NPC) class:
• Vegetation, structure, and composition
• Landscape setting and soils
• Tree suitability
• Tree response to climate change
• Tree establishment and recruitment
• Stand dynamics and growth stages
• 2-page silvicultural strategies for each major natural disturbance agent
Emulating Forest Disturbance with Silviculture The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has developed a Forest Ecology and Management course focused on advancing knowledge and skills for USFWS biologists, foresters and others who manage forests on refuges or partner lands to meet wildlife habitat needs and objectives. This webinar is an overview of the course which is designed to introduce biologists and others to the concepts of forest disturbance ecology, basic silvicultural approaches and the design of silvicultural prescriptions that will either emulate conditions more typical of natural disturbances or meet the needs for a particular set of species. The course covers field skills, stand exams, forest dynamics modeling, cruising, marking and harvesting. The course and presentation focus on using emulation of natural forest disturbances as a main thesis.


4. Knowledge of invasive plant identification and management, and effects on forests

Title Description
Invasive Terrestrial Plants Invasive terrestrial plants can disrupt native landscapes like prairies, wetlands, and forests. They also negatively impact agriculture economies and can be harmful to our health. Learn more about the invasive plants that are threatening Minnesota and what you can do to help by visiting the resources on this page.


5. Knowledge of identification and management of forest insects and diseases

Title Description
Forest pests and diseases (DNR) This Minnesota DNR website has links to forest pests and disease descriptions, identification and management options. 
Minnesota Forest Health Highlights from 2021 Each year, the Minnesota DNR Forest Health team conducts both aerial assessments and on-the-ground monitoring to assess the health of the state’s forests. Join us for this webinar as MN DNR Forest Health Specialists provide an update on the status and trends in forest health from all corners of the state.
Forest pests and diseases (UMN) This University of Minnesota website has links to forest pests and disease descriptions, identification and management options. 


 6. Knowledge of short and long term management effects on forest stand condition

2022 Webinar: Adaptive Silvicultural Experiments in Midwestern Hardwood Forests: Examples from Floodplains and Oak-dominated Uplands Join Drs. Miranda Curzon and Marcella Windmuller-Campione as they discuss their work on two Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change (ASCC) project sites. The ASCC project represents a collaboration between managers and scientists to establish experimental trials that assess forest ecosystem response to climate adaptation approaches (resistance, resilience, transition, and passive no action). Miranda will introduce a new multi-state ASCC study to be implemented on state-owned lands in the Driftless Area. Next, Marcella will provide two-year results and insights from another ASCC site, a 736-acre urban floodplain forest in St. Paul, MN on the Mississippi River. 
Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change: Lessons for timber-oriented managers The Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change (ASCC) project is designed to demonstrate adaptation options to natural resource managers and help them integrate climate change considerations into silvicultural decision making. Climate adaptation approaches being examined are designed to sustain ecosystem services into the future, including timber production. As one of the original developers of the ASCC adaptation framework, Brian Palik will discuss research results of interest to stakeholders having timber (or revenue) production as primary objectives. For example, what are the timber production tradeoffs, if any, associated with treatments designed to increase resilience? What growth responses have been observed since treatments were implemented? How are novel timber species, i.e., those adapted to climate change, responding to the treatments? How can these results inform management in similar forest ecosystems across the northern Lake States?


 7. Knowledge of soil health and management

Title Description
Unlock the Secrets in the Soil A series of 41 videos, mostly under five minutes each that discuss various soil health topics and applications of soil health principles.
Soil Quality - the Foundation for Resource Management (Time: 1:55)  Participants in the webinar learn about Natural Resources Conservation Service conservation planning principles to improve soil health and the impact soil health has on other resource concerns, such as water quality.
Soil Health (Time: 57:21)  In this session, Dr. Jessica Gutknecht discusses soil health. When you think about the soil beneath your feet, or beneath your tractor, what does it mean for it to be healthy? What does it take for it to be healthy, and what are the results of those efforts? In this talk, we will explore the world below with a brief introduction to soils, how soil structure is built into a healthy soil, and some management options for building a healthy soil. We will also discuss the win-win of soil health for sustainable management and for adaptation to increasingly variable Minnesota weather and climate.
Living Soil Film (Time 1:00:22) Our soils support 95 percent of all food production, and by 2060, our soils will be asked to give us as much food as we have consumed in the last 500 years. They filter our water. They are one of our most cost-effective reservoirs for sequestering carbon. They are our foundation for biodiversity. And they are vibrantly alive, teeming with 10,000 pounds of biological life in every acre. Yet in the last 150 years, we’ve lost half of the basic building block that makes soil productive. The societal and environmental costs of soil loss and degradation in the United States alone are now estimated to be as high as $85 billion every single year. Like any relationship, our living soil needs our tenderness. It’s time we changed everything we thought we knew about soil.


8. Knowledge of resource impacts of harvesting, including fire hazard, water quality, wildlife effects, etc.

Title Description
Application of Forestry Best Management Practices for Water Quality Protection Forestry Best Management Practices (BMPs) are techniques and practices used to minimize and prevent water quality problems associated with. (Time: 1:00)
Forestry Equipment Duane Fogard, American Bird Conservancy Forester,  from the  Duluth Field Office,  will lead us in a review of commonly used forest equipment that we may encounter in the state.  This training is for anyone who is working in a region of the state who has significant areas of land dedicated to forests to consider attending, especially if you are newer to forestry or would like to “brush up” on terminology or identification of commonly used equipment, availability,  suitability, and limitations based on site characteristics.
Forest Management Guideline Online Training The Forest Management Guidelines provide valuable decision-making tools for landowners, resource managers and loggers throughout Minnesota, who share an ongoing responsibility to make balanced, informed decisions about forest use, forest management and forest sustainability.  The online training is designed to familiarize the user with the layout and use of the Forest Management Guidelines document.   


9. Knowledge of local markets and economics of harvesting


10. Basic knowledge for recognizing potentially special sites and Threatened and Endangered (T&E) species, sufficient to initiate contact with the appropriate specialist 

Title Description
Environmental Evaluation Series No. 6: Planning for Endangered Species / Migratory Birds / Bald and Golden Eagles Special Environmental Concerns As the sixth in the series on environmental evaluations, this webinar will assist USDA NRCS conservation planners, partners, and technical service providers to understand the ecological importance of protected species and how to properly analyze and document existing conditions and the effects of planned conservation actions. Primary topics include: legal foundations, information/data sources, tools, mitigation measures, and documentation requirements including examples.
  • Ask your Area Resource Conservationist for access to the Natural Heritage Database training


11. Basic knowledge of visual quality management in forests

Title Description
Forest Management Guideline Online Training (Visual Quality module) The Forest Management Guidelines provide valuable decision-making tools for landowners, resource managers and loggers throughout Minnesota, who share an ongoing responsibility to make balanced, informed decisions about forest use, forest management and forest sustainability.  The online training is designed to familiarize the user with the layout and use of the Forest Management Guidelines document.   


Updated: 1/26/2023