Spring Regional Spotlight: Using Historical Land Records to Understand the Cutover Period

Posted By: Kimberly Christman Events, Spring Regional,

Please join us on Thursday, May 18th to learn more about the Cutover period in Wisconsin’s history.  Robert Smail from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will share research to better understand the forest conversion during this time in our state’s history and how it impacts current forest management challenges. 

The Cutover was a period in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota when the majority of forests were cleared for lumber and/or conversion to agriculture. Despite the fact that it happened over a 75 to 100-year period that witnessed exceptional social, economic, and industrial change, it is often referred to as a single event.  This research was done by compiling data from the General Land Office, the Wisconsin Land Economic Inventory and Wiscland. In this analysis, five distinct periods were identified for the cutover which revealed different intentions for land clearing and timber harvest.  Final analysis shows that all forest cover types remaining in Wisconsin currently exist on less productive soils with worse drainage.

Come to the 2023 WLIA Spring Regional Meeting to learn more.

Register Now!