Sustainable Soil and Water Quality Practices on Forest Land

This manual describes a set of voluntary forestry best management practices (BMPs) that protect our soil and water resources while allowing appropriate use of our forest resources.

The manual was originally published in 1994 as Water Quality Practices on Forest Land, and was superseded in 2009 by the present version.

BMPs described in 1994 edition are incorporated into the current manual and their specifications have not appreciably changed, nor have the statutes governing them. However, the scope and use of the term "best management practices" has expanded, in that the 2009 manual describes BMPs in the context of practices that protect both surface water and soil quality.

Proper and diligent use of the guidelines will help to ensure that Michigan's forested soils and waters associated with these forests are of the highest quality compatible with natural processes, and that our forest resources are wisely utilized. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources strongly encourages their use by everyone involved with growing, managing and harvesting trees, such as loggers, foresters and forest landowners.

A third revision of the BMP manual is in progress. A draft version of the revised manual is now available for stakeholder comment. Revisions are shown with tracked changes and comment boxes. A summary of the revisions is also provided. Comments on the draft revisions will be accepted until June 30, 2017 and should be sent via e-mail to David Price at and Amy Lounds at

If you have any questions about this manual or Michigan's forestry BMP Program, please contact David Price, Forest Planning and Operations Section Manager at 517-284-5891 or e-mail at

The manual is available in three different formats below to accommodate different printing capabilities and objectives. The three formats include an 82-page 8.5 x 11 standard page version immediately below, followed by two "glove box" 8.5 x 5.5 versions. Note the two smaller versions have different pagination than the standard page version. Download and test print a few pages of the smaller versions before printing them in their entirety to know what you are getting and to see if printer settings need to be adjusted.

Sustainable Soil and Water Quality Practices on Forest Land - Complete Version (5.60 MB)

Manual broken down for smaller downloads:

Single-sided 8.5 x 5.5 double-page (landscape) version (4.5 MB)

Double-sided, double-page 8.5 x 5.5 (landscape) version designed to print in booklet format (7.7 MB)