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The woodland owner to become an effective forest manager, must learn all he can about forestry in the same way that animal husbandry must be studied in order to effectively raise livestock, or law to become an attorney. Effective decision making is then required to put what he has learned into practice. It is important to understand why a course of action is needed as well as how to carry it out.

The landowner can learn by a number of methods. These include attendance at Forest Management Workshop, study of forest texts or magazines, joining a Forestry Association, and discussing experiences with other woodland owners in the area. A number of government agencies and, in some cases, private companies, have professional foresters available to provide technical advice and assistance to the landowner on an individual basis. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of service.

The Kentucky Division of Forestry has service foresters available through each of nine district offices across the state to assist the landowner with preparation of forest management plans, obtaining cost-sharing assistance, tree planting recommendations, marking timber for timber stand improvement practices, and for harvest. Advantages of this service to the landowner are that, since he is a state employee, the service forester provides a service free of cost and his assistance is required before the landowner can obtain government cost-share assistance. Disadvantages are, he is limited in the amount of time he can spend with each individual, and he does not offer a complete line of services. This means the service forester cannot work effectively with larger ownerships (over 500 acres).

Self-employed consulting foresters are available in many areas usually offering a complete line of forest management services including detailed management plans, labor, sales, boundary maintenance, surveying, appraisals, etc. Fees vary but are often charged on the basis of a set fee per acre managed, a percentage of timber sold, or an hourly rate.

The Soil Conservation Service (SCS) works through 121 conservation districts in Kentucky, to plan and apply conservation treatment to woodlands. The type of information available includes interpretations of soils for woodland use, an appraisal of existing woodlands or lands to be planted to include site productivity , stocking, tree species and values for wildlife, recreation, etc. Also, alternatives for use and treatment, cost-returns for woodland and an understanding of the practice and the how and why it should be applied, are provided.

Interested landowners may contact a local SCS field office located in each county in the state.

The University of Kentucky, through the Cooperative Extension Service, provides educational services such as workshops and individual assistance and makes available the results of research and other information through its many publications. These services are available through the County Extension Agent in each county. Another professional the landowner will need to call on at one time or another, is a good attorney. His fee will usually be repaid many times over in obtaining valid deeds, enforceable contracts, and leases and easements which protect both parties.

In setting up his bookkeeping system and in tax management, the landowner will want to consult a reputable accountant. The timing and consequences of major financial transactions should be carefully considered after discussion with the accountant. This can often prevent costly mistakes.

In today's complex world, it is impossible for one person to be an expert in all disciplines. Fortunately, it is not difficult and usually pays excellent dividends to secure professional advice before making major decisions.

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Last revised August 14, 1995.

Please send comments to: Duane Bristow (72711.1414@compuserve.com)