From Potosi, MO. From the Ranger’s Outdoor News

Topic: District Silviculturist Received Certification

Seeing someone work hard and progress in his or her career is one of the best rewards in life. I am proud to announce that Mike Norris, from the Potosi-Fredericktown Ranger District, recently earned his official certification as a Forest Service silviculturist.

A silviculturist is trained to examine forest stands to document historic land use and disturbance along with current composition and structure, site quality, and various other forest health and ecology parameters. The silviculturist develops forest management prescriptions that produce desired forest conditions. Prescriptions are often developed to regenerate certain tree species, to improve wildlife habitat, to reduce wildfire potential, to increase understory plant diversity, and/or to address insect and disease issues.

The Forest Service requires that a silvicultural diagnosis and prescription must be prepared or reviewed by a certified silviculturist before any national forest management activity can take place that involves cutting, burning, planting, or otherwise modifying forest vegetation.

Mike Norris was nominated for and accepted into the National Advanced Silviculture Program in 2016. He was required to attend four national courses providing graduate-level instruction in silviculture and forest ecology. The nine weeks of instruction took place over a year and a half and was conducted in collaboration with four leading academic institutions: (1) Ecological Systems, University of Minnesota; (2) Inventory and Decision Support, Oregon State University; (3) Landscape Ecology, University of Massachusetts at Northern Arizona University; and (4) Advanced Silviculture Topics, University of Tennessee. Students on the certification track take a fifth regional module developed specifically for expertise in regional forest types.

After the course work, Mike had to complete a detailed silvicultural prescription project. He chose a 25-acre forest stand on Mark Twain National Forest, near Cherokee Pass, Missouri. Mike had to first collect tree measurements, document information related to soils, climate, plant and wildlife species and habitat, presence of non-native invasive species, and any presence of insects or disease. He then had to develop an array of prescriptions that would help this forest stand meet the goals and objectives defined in the Mark Twain National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan.

To complete the National Advanced Silviculture Program, Mike had to choose one alternative and defend his choice in front of a panel of professionals: Dr. Daniel Dey, a research forester and project leader with the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station; Lisa Helmig, a silviculturist and current staff officer for the Shawnee National Forest in Illinois; Michael “Tony” Crump, a hydrologist and currently Mark Twain’s Deputy Forest Supervisor; and Amy Salveter, a wildlife biologist and currently Mark Twain’s Public Services Staff Officer. The panel was led by Carrie Sweeney, the Eastern Region’s Regional Silviculturist. She also served as the Regional Forester’s representative.

After reviewing the project report, watching a presentation, taking a tour of the project site and an intense questioning session, the panel of experts recommended Mike for certification.

Join me in congratulating Mike Norris on the hard work he put in to earn his silviculture certification. Our national lands are in good hands!

The Potosi Ranger Station is open Monday-Friday, 8:00 am–4:30 pm. You can reach us by calling (573) 438-5427. To receive updates on Mark Twain National Forest events and happenings, follow us on Twitter @marktwain_nf, and like us on our Facebook page,

Mark Twain National Forest – It’s All Yours.

Photo Caption: Mike Norris successfully completed the National Advance Silvicultural Program and earned the title of Certified Silviculturist in the Eastern Region. Pictured are Mike Norris, District Silviculturist for the Potosi-Fredericktown Ranger District, and Carrie Sweeney, the Eastern Region Regional Silviculturist. (Photo courtesy of USDA Forest Service)Mike Norris, District Silviculturist, and Carrie Sweeney, Eastern Regional Silviculturist