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The Good Neighbor Authority

Aerial image of green forest and Manistee river headwaters

The Good Neighbor Authority

Collaborative Forest Management: The Good Neighbor Authority

About the program

Partnerships are key to management of Michigan's interconnected natural landscape, which includes 19.3 million acres of public and private forest lands.

The Good Neighbor Authority is a growing national program authorized through the U.S. Farm Bill that allows for co-management of federally owned forests by state and federal officials, helping keep forests healthy and productive. In Michigan, state foresters have teamed up with partners in the three national forests - the Huron-Manistee, Hiawatha and Ottawa - for a variety of management projects. 

Co-managing national forest lands - How does it work?

The Good Neighbor Authority in Michigan builds capacity by allowing for co-management of national forest lands by state and federal natural resource agencies, the Michigan DNR and the U.S. Forest Service. In this collaborative program, forest management is used to produce timber, improve wildlife habitat, conduct restoration projects, increase tree diversity and regenerate the land through prescribed burning.

  • State employees assist with bringing timber to local economies through salvage work in areas affected by pests and storms, and by strategically cutting timber in coordination with Forest Service management plans.
  • Revenue generated from the management activity is re-invested into the program in Michigan national forests for additional forest management and wildlife habitat activities.


A furry pine marten sits on a branch in a forest

Forest management benefits: Improving wildlife habitat and meeting management goals

The Good Neighbor Authority allows for critical management activities to take place, benefiting endangered species including the Karner blue butterfly and Massasauga rattlesnake. Other species that depend on healthy forests include the rare Kirtland's Warbler and many species of turtles and game birds.

Habitat improvements are made possible by reinvesting funds from timber management sales into on-the-ground restoration and improvement projects on Forest Service lands. It also assists with bringing raw forest materials into the economy to be turned into renewable wood products.

The first partner GNA project in northwest Michigan's Huron-Manistee National Forest thinned red pines growing close together using a select-cut, letting more light into the forest to encourage fresh growth. Snags, brush and standing dead timber were left to create habitat for the pine marten, a shy member of the weasel family that forest management has helped recover after nearly disappearing from Michigan in the 1930s.


Have questions about the GNA program? Contact program coordinator Derek Cross, 231-429-6178.