Iowa Forests Today

Iowa forests today

Iowa's Forests Today is provided below in .pdf format. Since the document file size is 75 MB, it has been broken into smaller files for faster downloading.

If you have questions, comments or would like to request a CD, please e-mail Aron Flickinger at:

Iowa's Forest Resource Assessment and Strategies

Iowa's Forests Today

State Forest Resource Assessment and Strategies are a requirement of the 2008 Farm Bill. This document allows funding for programs established under the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978 like the Forest Stewardship Program, Forest Legacy Program, Forest Health Program, Fire Program, and Urban and Community Forestry Program enabling state forestry agencies to apply for federal funding.

The State Assessment and Resource Strategy (Iowa's Forests Today) address forest-related issues of importance to Iowa and are complementary to the following three national priorities:

  • Conserve and manage working forest landscapes for multiple values and uses
  • Protect forests from threat
  • Enhance public benefits from trees and forests

This document identifies landscape areas where national, regional, and state resource issues and priorities converge. This is meant to be a dynamic document that utilizes the best current data available, works with stakeholders, and adequately considers other state assessments, plans, and priorities. In this way, Iowa's State Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy document is a valuable source for communicating forest-related issues, threats, and opportunities in the state and serves as an important strategic document for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Forestry Bureau to use for planning and funding purposes.

This document was created using a variety of sources, including:

  • An overview of the national requirements and guidance for state assessments with regional clarification and sideboards
  • An overview of the national requirements and guidance for the Resource Strategies
  • Stakeholder involvement
  • State Wildlife Action Plan, Forest Legacy Assessment of Need, and Community Wildfire Protection Plans
  • Geospatial data

To ensure that Federal and State resources are being focused on important landscape areas with the greatest opportunity to address shared management priorities and achieve meaningful outcomes, the Iowa DNR Forestry Bureau has worked with key partners and stakeholders to develop this document. Stakeholder groups coordinated with include Iowa DNR Wildlife Bureau, State Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee, State Technical Committee, Urban and Community Forestry Council, along with dozens of other conservation groups and individuals interested in the management of the forest resources in Iowa. Topics covered in the document:

  • An analysis of past and present forest conditions and trends on all ownerships in the state, including analysis of market and non-market forces
  • Threats to forest lands and resources have been identified in Iowa consistent with the national priorities
  • Explanation of forest related benefits and services
  • Priority forest landscape areas in the state have been delineated across priorities and programs, ownerships, and the urban to rural continuum, to be addressed by the Resource Strategy
  • Identification and delineation of multi-state areas that are a regional priority

This assessment is divided into nine chapters, with the first seven are modeled after an international system of criteria and indicators known as the Montreal Process. These criteria address biological diversity, the productive capacity of the forest, ecosystem health, soil and water resources, global carbon cycles, socioeconomic benefits from forests and the legal, institutional and economic systems that can impede or enable progress in sustainability. The Montreal Process provides a data driven template for reporting information, discussing trends and highlighting forestry issues that are relevant in Iowa. For detailed information on the Montreal Process, visit their website at Not all parts of the Montreal Process had data or were relevant to forestry issues included in this assessment. In addition, including program specific data that would not otherwise be captured by the framework developed by the Montreal Process has been added where necessary.

Chapter 8 shows priority forest areas, priority community areas, forest legacy areas, and areas that could potentially offer multi-state partnerships to work on common issues related to the forest resource in that area.

Chapter 9 is where the issues, that have been developed by the first seven chapters, are listed with the accompanying strategies and resources required to address them.