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Step 4: Filling Out and Submitting the Cutting Notice

MFL and FCL Harvesting

Approximate time to complete step #4: One day.

Basics of the MFL or FCL cutting notice

It's important to understand the basics before filling out the cutting notice.

The Managed Forest Law (MFL) and Forest Crop Law (FCL) programs require that a Cutting Notice and Report, form 2450-032 [PDF], be submitted to the Tax Law Forestry Specialist at least 30 days before a timber harvest occurs. This notice and report ensures that the harvesting of trees on MFL and FCL lands complies with the objectives in the landowner's forest management plan, follows sustainable forest management guidelines and adheres with the guidelines set forth by forest certification.

Why a cutting notice is required

The owners of land enrolled in MFL or FCL programs are required to follow a management plan. The Cutting Notice and Report form is required to ensure that harvesting on MFL and FCL lands conform to the landowner’s management plan and is consistent with sound forestry.

A cutting notice is generally required when merchantable trees are cut on MFL or FCL land. A landowner may be required to implement a practice on their MFL or FCL land that does not include harvesting trees such as a tree planting. A cutting notice would not be required for a tree planting.

Filling out the cutting notice

Use the detailed instructions [PDF] to complete the cutting notice. These instructions are also found directly on the Cutting Notice and Report form.

Please stay tuned for future instructional videos on filling out the cutting notice. 

Submitting the cutting notice

The Managed Forest Law (MFL) and Forest Crop Law (FCL) require that only the landowner has the ultimate responsibility for submitting the cutting notice and report. For this reason, the cutting notice and report asks for the signature of the landowner. If someone other than the landowner has signed the cutting notice and report, documentation explaining that person has the authority to sign the form on the landowner’s behalf must accompany the cutting notice and report. Typically, the forester, logger or other agent who is assisting the landowner with the timber harvesting practice will help the landowner with filling out the content of the cutting notice and report.

The MFL or FCL landowner must submit the cutting notice at least 30 days prior to beginning a timber harvest.

County cutting Notices

A notice of intent to cut must also be completed and filed with the county clerk before any timber is harvested. The notice of intent to cut is known as the "county cutting notice" and is a separate requirement from the MFL and FCL cutting notice. The county cutting notice is required for harvesting on all private lands even if the lands are not enrolled in the MFL or FCL programs.


There can be consequences to landowners for the items listed below. The consequence can include noncompliance assessments, citations, and/or withdrawal from the MFL or FCL program with a withdrawal tax and fee assessed to the landowner. The Tax Law Forestry Specialist's main goal is to keep landowners in compliance with the MFL and FCL programs and to avoid these situations:

  • Failure to complete a required harvest or other required practice on MFL or FCL lands;
  • Failure to submit the cutting notice;
  • Failure to submit the cutting report;
  • Submitting a cutting report with false information on it;
  • Harvesting in a manner inconsistent with sound forestry or the landowner's management plan;
  • if the property is part of the MFL Certified Group, ensure the harvest conforms with forest certification standards.

After the trees have been "marked" and the cutting notice has been filled out completely, the cutting notice must then be submitted to the local Tax Law Forestry Specialist. The cutting notice must be submitted to the Tax Law Forestry Specialist at least 30 days prior to beginning a timber harvest.

Once submitted, the Tax Law Forestry Specialist will determine if DNR approval is required.

Cutting notices that do not require DNR approval

A cutting notice does not require DNR approval if the cutting notice is submitted by a cooperating forester, a forester accredited by the Society of American Foresters (SAF), Wisconsin Consulting Foresters (WCF) or the Association of Consulting Foresters (ACF) or a person with five years of full-time experience in forest and if the proposed cutting is under the terms of the landowner's management plan.

For a list of cooperating foresters, see the Forestry Assistance Locator. Cooperating foresters are private foresters who sign a Cooperating Forester Agreement to comply with DNR standards for responsible forestry.

Even if the conditions above are met, however, the landowner can indicate on the cutting notice that they are requesting DNR review and approval of the cutting notice.

Cutting notices that do require DNR approval

A cutting notice not submitted by a Cooperating Forester, accredited forester, or experienced Individual (a person with 5 years of experience engaged in the full-time profession of managing forests) requires DNR review and approval.

A cutting notice with proposed cutting that is not under the terms of the landowner’s management plan requires DNR review and approval as well.

For additional information, please contact a Tax Law Forestry Specialist.