Managing South Dakota’s Forests for the Future
South Dakota’s forest action plan provides a comprehensive summary of the five forest types that occur in the state and establishes priority landscapes for targeting management resources. The conifer forests in the West, the upland hardwoods in the East, bottomland hardwoods along streams and rivers, agro-forest windbreaks on the plains, and community forests are examined in terms of extent, condition, values, threats, ownership, needs, problems, and opportunities. The Statewide Strategy provides direction for addressing the issues and threats facing these forests detailing strategies, existing resources, needs, partners, and monitoring.
Conserving our working forests
Protecting our forests from wildfire and insects
Enhancing the benefits of our riparian, windbreak and community forests
A mountain pine beetle epidemic threatens ponderosa pine on National Forest, state, and private forest lands in the Black Hills. Emerald ash borers threaten ash trees, which are the second most abundant in the state and which provide more than 30 percent of species composition in windbreaks, communities, and wooded draws. Maintaining a vibrant forest products industry for removing infested trees, and diversifying species composition in tree plantings are critical to addressing these threats.
Fragmentation of the rural landscape accompanied by construction of homes and vacation cabins, and decades of fuel accumulation combine to increase the cost and complexity of fuel hazard reduction and fire suppression efforts. Community involvement through development of Community Wildfire Protection Plans, fuel hazard reduction, and a well trained and equipped cadre of volunteer and professional firefighters are critical to mitigating the threat of forest and property damage from wildfire.
In the Black Hills about 100,000 bone-dry tons of wood residues are created each year from whole tree logging and small diameter thinning projects. Most of this is piled and burned as waste. While the Black Hills support a vibrant forest products industry, these biomass residues offer an opportunity for expanding utilization. Wood biomass boilers for public buildings, and wood pellet production are two recently developed uses. Opportunities exist for large scale energy production such as biofuels, co-generation, cellulosic ethanol, and industrial heating.