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Wisconsin Assessment of Need

The Wisconsin Assessment of Need is the primary program implementation document for the state, as required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service. The intent of the assessment is to provide background information in the form of a natural resource primer that supports, reveals or highlights forested areas in the state that could or should be protected. This document also provides justification for focusing protection efforts on those areas identified as environmentally importation, threatened by conversion and having the most long-term benefits from being protected.  The ultimate goal of the document is to delineate Forest Legacy Areas (link to FLA main page) for approval by the Secretary of Agriculture.

The Forest Service requires that states conduct an Assessment of Need, in cooperation with the State Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee, to document the state’s inclusion in the Forest Legacy Program. The assessment contains an evaluation of current forests, forest uses and the trends and forces causing conversion to non-forest uses.  Within this document, the state is able to define eligibility criteria to be used in the identification of the important forest areas to be proposed as a Forest Legacy Areal determine through analysis what defines “threatened” and “environmentally important forest”; and outline the state’s project evaluation and prioritization procedures. The assessment must be developed in consultation with State Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee and approved by the Wisconsin DNR, the state lead agency.

Public involvement

The Forest Service requires states joining the Forest Legacy Program to gather public input on the program. The public input process is an opportunity to identify potential project partners, to define Forest Legacy Areas and to obtain public support for land conservation and Forest Legacy Program. The information gathered in the public involvement process was used to develop the Wisconsin Assessment of Need, which guides the state’s Forest Legacy Program.

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