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Step 4: Cutting Notice Basics

MFL and FCL Harvesting

Understanding the basics about the cutting notice (why it's required, who must submit it, when, etc.) is the fourth step in the harvesting process. It's important to understand the basics before moving to Step #5: 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 DNR forester 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. The Cutting Notice and Report also tracks wood volumes for yield and severance tax reporting.

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. Contact the DNR forester for more information about when a cutting notice is required.

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 [exit DNR] 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 or withdrawal from the MFL or FCL program with a withdrawal tax assessed to the landowner. The DNR forester'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.

For additional information, please contact a DNR forester.