Forestry is an integral component of conservation and natural resource management. Proper forest management often provides benefits for every involved party. Harvesting timber provides an income source to landowners, promotes private industry, and improves forest health in the process. There are numerous ecosystem services that we all enjoy when forest health is improved following best management practices: improved wildlife habitat, better access and improved recreation, increased water quality through filtration and flood control, erosion control and soil stabilization, nutrient cycling and increased soil organic matter, carbon sequestration, as well as pollution control and oxygen production.
Forestry Assistance Program
The Forestry Assistance Program (FAP) encourages proper forest management by providing landowners with information resources and technical assistance from our district forester. There are numerous federal, state, and local forest management programs and incentives for which you may qualify. Our forester will identify what is the best fit for you based on your objectives and your specific natural resource needs.
Qualified Forest Program
The Qualified Forest Program (QFP) incentivizes landowners to actively manage private forestland for commercial harvest, wildlife habitat, and general improvement of natural resources. Enrolled landowners receive a 16 mil exemption from the local school operating millage. In order to qualify, tax parcels must be greater than 20 acres and cannot be homesteaded. Visit the MDARD website to learn more, or call Montcalm Conservation District and our district forester will help you through every step of the process.
Spotted lanternfly, (Lycorma delicatula), is a planthopper that is native to China and southeast Asia. These invasive insects feed on the sap of trees by piercing the bark with a straw-like mouth piece. This feeding causes stress and loss of vigor in trees which, in severe infestations, could result in the death of the tree. The feeding also produces “honeydew” which is a sugar-rich by-product that grows a black sooty mold and attracts hornets, wasps, and ants. Spotted lanternfly prefers to host on tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), a non-native invasive species also from southeast Asia. Tree-of-heaven spreads very rapidly and can grow in a large variety of conditions. While this is the preferred host, SLF also feeds on a variety of fruit trees and vines, including grapevine, as well as several hardwoods including oak, maple, and willow. The most severe economic impacts of SLF are of its feeding of grapevine, hops, and several fruiting trees including apples. Spotted lanternfly does not feed on the fruit itself but large feeding populations can reduce the sap content of the tree, resulting in less quality yields and the black sooty mold can impact the marketability of the yield. This pest has the potential to cause a large impact on the grape, hops, and logging industry in the state.
Spotted lanternflies cannot harm humans but their presence in large populations is very unpleasant. The best time to spot SLF is during its adult stage, July-December, where the adult fly is mating. Adult flies have grey forewings that sport black spots and hindwings which have the characteristic red, white, and black striping. Starting in September, SLF begin to lay eggs for the winter. These egg sacks can be present on any flat surface including tree bark, outdoor furniture, cars, etc. The egg sacks are covered in a mud-colored substance.
The best way to stop the spotted lanternfly is to prevent it from spreading in the first place. Currently, spotted lanternfly is not known to be present in Michigan. Although it has been confirmed in eastern Ohio and could soon pose a threat in Michigan. Because it is a flying insect, SLF can travel large distances with the help of the moving of wood. To prevent infestations from spreading, it is recommended to remove tree-of-heaven from your property. Tree-of-heaven is a prolific stump sprouter and should be safely treated with best control practices in mind.
What if I think I have found SLF in Michigan?
If you believe you have found SLF in Michigan, it is important to report it properly and quickly. If you are able, take a clear picture of the insect and the tree it is feeding on and record the GPS location of the insect. You can report these using the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network's app or online reporting tool.
You can also report any sightings to:
MSU Plant and Pest Diagnostic Lab: firstname.lastname@example.org or (517) 432-0988
Michigan Dept. of Agriculture and Rural Development: MDAemail@example.com or 1-800-292-3939
Photos taken by Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture