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Professional Organizations

Many foresters belong to professional forestry organizations. Members of these organizations must meet education standards, follow principles of professional conduct and adhere to a code of ethics.

Master Logger Certification

The Wisconsin Certified Master Logger logo.

Master Logger Certification (MLC©) is a performance-based program that formally recognizes those loggers who have attained the utmost level of training and experience and who demonstrate an unending commitment to sound forest stewardship. It is the highest form of professional recognition for the logging sector in the state.

Not anyone can be a master logger. Every master logger applicant must meet or exceed strict performance standards that fall under seven distinct areas of responsibility (see below). Their harvesting practices must pass a rigorous field audit and their operations must receive the unanimous approval of the Wisconsin MLC© certifying board. The certifying board is a diverse group of resource experts and stakeholders, all knowledgeable about the practice of sustainable forestry.

Once an individual becomes a master logger, they must be prepared to meet the same verification standards on all of their work. This is done through annual recertification and a complaint system that can trigger a re-visit from field verifiers. The purpose of this program is not just to hold loggers to a higher standard but to provide a gold standard that is recognizable by forest landowners and mills. To date, 55 master loggers have been certified in Wisconsin (with more to follow).

Why certification is needed

Why is certification needed for any profession? To give clients, customers or the general public assurances that the person performing the job has the education, training, skills and experience to do the job correctly. Many loggers already meet all the standards and criteria of the MLC© program. The problem is they don't have a formal way to prove it. Other loggers can easily meet the requirements with slight modifications to their operations. However, some loggers will either not be able to meet the standards or won't care to be part of the program.

The seven areas of responsibility

The American Logging Council developed seven areas of responsibility for the nationwide master logger program. Any logger wishing to become a certified master logger must meet or exceed strict performance standards in each of the following seven areas:

  • water quality and soils protection;
  • compliance with government regulations;
  • compliance with acceptable silviculture and utilization standards;
  • participation in an ongoing training regimen;
  • implementation of aesthetic management techniques;
  • adherence to a site-specific management plan that is agreed to by the landowner; and
  • utilization of sound business management principles.


Browse the information below if you are interested in learning more about the master logger program.

Wisconsin Master Logger Certification Program
contact: Brock VanOss - Coordinator
phone: 906-874-0777
website: [exit DNR]
Green Tier: Wisconsin Master Logger Environmental Results Charter

If you have a complaint to file on a Wisconsin master logger, please email or call with your complaint using the contact information directly above.

Society of American Foresters in Wisconsin

The Society of American Foresters logo.

Wisconsin is one of the 33 state and multistate societies that make up the Society of American Foresters (SAF). Our members represent all segments of the forestry profession in Wisconsin and our membership includes natural resource professionals in public and private settings, researchers, CEOs, administrators, educators, forest technicians and students.

Our mission as foresters is to be responsible stewards of the Earth's forests while meeting society's vital needs. The challenge of our mission lies in maintaining productive and diverse forest land base while utilizing its resources. We meet this challenge by carefully monitoring and managing the effects of natural and human forces on the forest. Our decisions are guided by our professional knowledge, our desire to improve citizens' lives and our respect and concern for the entire forest ecosystem. By advancing forestry science, education, technology and the practice of forestry, Wisconsin SAF provides the leadership to achieve its mission.

Wisconsin SAF members--in their various professional jobs--play a major role in managing the 16 million acres of forest land in Wisconsin. These forests provide a variety of benefits for Wisconsin residents and the nation in the form of wildlife, water, recreation and forest products.

The forestry profession has adapted to changing priorities for Wisconsin's forests. During the early days of economic and community development, the emphasis was on timber production. Today, foresters manage for a rich diversity of forest resources to achieve landowner objectives and meet society's needs and the needs of future generations. Wisconsin SAF members share a common goal--the wise use of Wisconsin's forest resources.

See the Wisconsin SAF website [exit DNR] for more information.

Wisconsin Consulting Foresters

The Wisconsin Consulting Foresters logo.

The Wisconsin Consulting Foresters (WCF) members are committed to promoting and improving forest resources for the benefit of present and future generations. Members pledge to practice sound forest management and follow the principles of sustainable forestry on all lands that we manage and agree to abide by a high standard of professionalism and ethical conduct.

The WCF objectives are to:

  • raise the standard of ethical forest management decision-making;
  • educate our peers, landowners and other resource managers to the value and importance of consulting foresters and to the positive impact that we have upon the forest resources of Wisconsin;
  • improve upon the important relationships we maintain with other forest resource partners such as the DNR, WWOA, etc.; and
  • provide excellence in forest management services on all client lands.

The WCF believes this credo is for the benefit of all forest resources and critical to the future health and vitality of professional consulting forestry in Wisconsin.

See the Wisconsin Consulting Foresters website [exit DNR] to locate a WCF member near you or email them for more information.

Wisconsin Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI®) Implementation Committee

The Wisconsin Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Implementation Committee logo.

The Wisconsin Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI®) Implementation Committee (SIC) is committed to public outreach and continual improvement of sustainable forestry. They have a reporting system that provides a way to address practices on SFI-certified forestland in Wisconsin that appear inconsistent with the SFI Forest Management Standard Principles and Objectives [exit DNR].

Individuals with questions or concerns about a forestry operation may call 1-608-467-6025 collect at the Wisconsin Paper Council; Scott Suder of the Council is the contact for the SFI complaint process. Callers will be asked to provide their name, contact information and a description of their forestry concern or question. The information will be provided to the SIC's Inconsistent Practices Committee for review. If, based on the initial information, an inconsistent practice may have occurred involving SFI Wisconsin SIC-trained loggers, haulers or wood-using (pulpwood or saw logs) companies, an investigation will be initiated.

If a site inspection is warranted it will be performed (if access is granted). The caller will be kept informed throughout the investigation and, when completed, provided with a written report of the Inconsistent Practices Committee's determinations. These can range from a finding that no inconsistent practice occurred (if so, the decision will be fully explained) to a determination that an inconsistency occurred and what corrective and educational measures are prescribed to preclude recurrences. Callers also have appeal rights that will be communicated to them.

As another component of their commitment to sustainable forestry, the organization produced an educational introduction to forestry. Wisconsin Forests – The Private Landowner's Guide [PDF] is a full-color, 50-page guide that includes forestry basics as well as links to additional resources for those wanting to explore more deeply into a variety of forestry topics.