Sustainable Soil and Water Quality Practices on Forest Land

(formerly Best Management Practices (BMP) 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.

This is the first substantial revision of the 1994 publication, Water Quality Practices on Forest Land, also known as Michigan's Forestry Best Management Practices (BMP) Manual. This 2009 version supersedes previous versions.

BMPs described in previous editions are incorporated into this manual and their specifications have not changed much, nor have the statutes governing them. However, the scope and use of the term "Best Management Practices" has expanded. The manual describes BMPs in the context of those practices that not only protect surface water quality, but soil quality too.

Several minor changes have been made to the manual. For example, a section has been added on forest wetland protection practices to use when constructing roads and guidance added to address rutting. The term "buffer strip" has been changed to "Riparian Management Zone" (RMZ). Forest management activities within an RMZ are allowed, as long as extra precaution is used and the integrity and function of the RMZ is maintained during and after forest management activities (i.e. logging). The manual has also updated information on vegetative erosion control and incorporated information on designated trout streams, vernal pools, fens and bogs to provide information about such areas.

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.

If you have any questions about this manual or Michigan's forestry BMP Program, please contact David Price, Forest Planning and Inventory Manager at 517-284-5891 or e-mail at A limited number of manuals are being printed and distributed; contact Margaret Spagnuolo at 517-284-5903 or email at for information on these.

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)