Managed Forest Law
The Managed Forest Law (MFL) program is a landowner incentive program that encourages sustainable forestry on private woodland. In exchange for following sound forest management, the landowner pays reduced property taxes. It was enacted in 1985 and replaced the Woodland Tax Law and the Forest Crop Law.
MFL is the only forest tax law that is open to enrollment. Land enrolled in the MFL program must be managed according to a plan agreed to by the landowner.
Enrollment into the Managed Forest Law (MFL) program is open to all private owners of forested land. To qualify for MFL designation, a parcel of land must be at least 20 contiguous acres under the same ownership, or, be at least 10 contiguous acres and be connected by a tract of land under the same ownership to at least one other parcel of at least 10 contiguous acres. At least 80% of each parcel must be productive forest.
See the program summary [PDF] for more information on MFL rules and requirements.
To apply for the MFL program, an application must be submitted with a management plan written by a certified plan writer. The management plan addresses items such as landowner objectives, timber management, wildlife management and water quality. You can use the Forestry Assistance Locator to help you locate a certified plan writer who normally works in your county.
The deadline for submitting an application and required attachments is June 1 for entry effective the following Jan. 1.
Change of ownership
When ownership of land enrolled in the Managed Forest Law (MFL) program changes, the new owner must file a Managed Forest Law Transfer of Ownership (2450-159) [PDF]. By filing this form, the new owner agrees to the MFL entry, associated MFL management plan and MFL program rules. The new owner is required to complete and send this form within 30 days of the change of ownership.
Failure to submit this form may result in withdrawal from the program and the assessment of a withdrawal tax and fee. If the new owners choose not to continue the land in the MFL program, they may request to withdraw the land.
See our MFL Land Transfer of Ownership Factsheet [PDF] for more information.
Land enrolled under the Managed Forest Law (MFL) may be voluntarily withdrawn at any time. To withdraw land from the MFL program, the landowner must submit a withdrawal form (link below).
A withdrawal tax plus a $300 withdrawal fee will be assessed. The type of order determines the way the withdrawal tax is calculated. Contact the tax law forestry specialist for information on order types.
- Declaration of Withdrawal Managed Forest Law (2450-140) [PDF]
- Declaration of Withdrawal Instructions [PDF]
- Request for Estimate of Withdrawal Tax for Managed Forest Law (MFL) [PDF exit DNR]
- Declaration of Withdrawal – Exempt Forest Tax Law (2450-162) [PDF]
Forest certification is an independent verification that woodland management conforms to standards for sustainability and best practices. In the context of forest certification, sustainability includes the ecological, economic and social components of forests and surrounding communities. Membership in the MFL Certified Group is free and entirely voluntary for landowners enrolled in Managed Forest Law. New MFL applicants and landowners transferring into the program must decide whether to join the MFL Certified Group [PDF]. Once a group member, individual participants may elect to leave the certified group without dropping out of MFL. Visit the MFL group forest certification page for more information.