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Centuries ago, much of Wisconsin was covered by forests. In the 19th century, many of the natural forests in the southern part of Wisconsin were cleared for the purpose of establishing farms. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Wisconsin's northern forests were frequently harvested for timber for lumber and paper products. Consequently, many of the older trees living in the state are between 100 and 125 years old. Since the birth of the conservation movement in the 1920's and 1930's, Wisconsin has reportedly gained forested land during most years, instead of losing it to deforestation. This gain can largely be attributed to the conservation movement and careful use of sustainable tree harvesting methods.
Wisconsin forests are comprise of coniferous and deciduous trees species. Coniferous species typically do not shed their leaves. They are often cone-bearing with slender, needle-like leaves. Wisconsin is home a wide variety of coniferous species including the following: Northern White Cedar, Red Cedar, Balsam Fir, Hemlock, Jack pine, Red pine (Norway pine), White pine, Black spruce, White spruce, and Tamarack (American larch).
According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, forests cover forty-six percent of the land area of the state. This amount for 16 million acres of forested land out of 34.7 million total acres. In contrast, deciduous trees shed their leaves on an annual basis. Their leaves are frequently broad, changing color in the fall before they are shed from the trees in the winter. The deciduous tree species that are native to Wisconsin include:
Black ash, Green ash, White ash, Mountain ash, Big-tooth aspen, Quaking aspen, Balm of Gilead (balsam poplar), Basswood (linden), Beech, Blue beech (hornbeam), Paper birch, River birch, Yellow birch, Box elder, Black cherry, Choke cherry, Pin cherry, Eastern cottonwood, American elm, Rock elm, Slippery elm (Red elm), Hackberry, Bitternut hickory, Shagbark hickory, Ironwood (hop hornbeam), Juneberry (Service berry), Black locust, Honey locust, Red maple (soft), Silver maple (soft), Sugar maple (hard), Black oak, Bur oak, Chinkapin oak, Northern pin oak (Hills oak or Jack oak), Red oak, Swamp white oak, White oak, Wild plum, Black walnut, and Willow.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources estimates that 32 percent of the forested lands in Wisconsin is owned by a government entity, such as the federal, state, local or tribal government. A large percentage, 57 percent to be exact, is said to be owned by individual, private landowners. Private corporations and industry reported own the remainder of the forested land here in Wisconsin. The maple-basswood variety of forest is the most prevalent type of forest in Wisconsin.
Forest land is valuable for a variety of reasons. Timber companies can harvest the wood for the production of furniture, paper, toilet paper, paper towels and newspaper. Pines, balsam firs and cedars are typically in the category of soft woods while maple, oaks and birch trees are characterized as "hard" woods. Some of the timber, particularly some of the softer woods, may be used to produce wood pulp or fiber, which is amazingly used to make items not commonly thought of as wood products, such as football helmets. Other groups place great importance in conserving these forest land for the benefit of our environment and future generations. Conservation movements also focus on the forest as a habitat for endangered plant, animal and bird species. Some people seek forested land for the purpose of outdoor recreation and relaxation. Often time this purpose can co-exist with the mission of conserving the land. Outdoor recreation is big business in Wisconsin with countless of acres of forests and lakes devoted to hiking, boating, hunting, cross-country skiing, biking and more. Residential and resort properties allow people the opportunity to truly commune with the beauty of the woods here in the Wisconsin wilderness. In fact, private property owners can enter into legally binding agreements that they will only utilize the land in environmentally approved ways. Such documents, referred to as conservation easements, are legally binding on both current owners and any property owners who might acquire an interest in the land in the future. Acquiring a piece of property adjacent to a conservation easement can be a real windfall for new property owners as they can be assured that the land neighboring their land will be protected and not used for purposes that might damage the land or detract from its natural beauty. For these, and other reasons, forested parcels of property can be very valuable here in Wisconsin.
If you are seeking a parcel of forested land in Wisconsin, it is critical to engage the services of a real estate professional familiar with this particular market. A realtor who knows the ins and outs of the market will help you navigate the issues that will likely arise during your search for and purchase of forested land. Below are a couple of the many considerations you will need to keep in mind as you search for the perfect parcel of forested land here in Wisconsin:
1. Plan the Property's Use:
Make sure you set out with a clear idea of how you want to use the land. If you want to use the property to develop it into a resort or a vacation home property, you may look for very different characteristics than if you want to harvest the timber for a profit.
2. Know Your Budget:
Having a clear idea of how much you can spend on the property, how much development might cost and how much you will pay in taxes on the property. Certain uses of the land may produce tax benefits, so be sure to sit down with your financial tax advisor to get a clear understanding of your situation. There are a myriad of considerations when planning your budget, so make sure you sit down with an attorney, an accountant and a real estate professional before purchasing so that you aren't faced with unexpected expenses later.
3. Check the Zoning:
Be careful to examine the existing zoning regulations of the property to ensure that your intended use of the property does not violate any existing restrictions.
4. Be aware of Environmental Restrictions:
Certain properties may be protected as a result of being identified as environmentally vulnerable areas. Make sure that you are fully informed about any conservation easements or governmental regulations that may impact your use of the property. Are there sources of water available on the property?
5. Consider the Re-Sale Value:
Even though you love a property doesn't mean others will. Carefully consider whether the re-sale value of the property will remain high, particularly if you intend to clear or develop the forested property.
These are but a few of the things you will want to think about before investing in forest land in Wisconsin. Forested properties in Wisconsin are highly desirable as a result of their diverse uses. While property values have traditionally appreciated, the prices remain much more reasonable than comparable properties closer to the eastern and western seaboards of the United States. Wisconsin forest lands are extraordinary natural resources. Whether you intend to use the property to generate a profit, or you simply want to build your dream vacation home here, why not get the process by placing a call to a real estate professional at LandBin.com today? Talk over your options and begin to look at all Wisconsin forests have to offer today!