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
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)
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


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

Title Description
Forest pests and diseases This Minnesota DNR 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


 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 Guidelines This document outlines the best management practices to be used to protect natural resources on all forest land in Minnesota.


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 Guidelines This document outlines the best management practices to be used to protect natural resources on all forest land in Minnesota.