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A plan for carrying out forestry activities on woodland property is important. It can be as formal or informal as the owner wishes or needs. While in some cases, it may not even be written down on paper, it is usually desirable for the owner to do so or have it done by a professional forester.

The plan usually describes the goals of the owner, and a schedule of activities for the woods or portion of the woods. Generally the larger the woodland acreage and the more different conditions of soils and tree sizes in the woods, the more details are needed. Where there are major differences in various sections of the woods, the needed forestry activity will likely be quite different. Therefore, the plan or activity will vary for each diffent major condition found; dividing the woods into sections or compartments allows the owner to treat them separately, for example, divisions or compartments in the woods may be the separation of large or mature timber areas from areas having only pole size timber or an old field just restocking with pine or hardwood sapling or poles.

Many forest owners have only a small amount of time to devote to forestry work, and a well thought out plan will tell him when the available time will be spent for the best future returns. In other words, it sets priorities for work which needs to be accomplished.

There are many things which may be made a part of a plan of action; naturally few plans will contain all of them. The following are items to consider in developing your plan:

  1. Maps of the property showing the property boundaries and the wooded portion of the property clearly separated. When the woods have been divided into several compartments for management purposes, each compartment should be shown along with the acreage and the conditions on the compartment, such as the major kinds of trees and the size-class of the trees.
  2. A description of the management compartment including the major kinds of trees, the most important size-class of the trees, some idea of the amount of merchantable volume by tree kinds and sizes, and what forestry practices are needed.
  3. For those with trees at or near mature size, information on available markets, prices, and product specifications should be compiled, and plans for sales and contracts developed.
  4. Thoughts should be given to road layout and construction so any roads or trails will have permanent value for future harvests and forestry activities as well as a current sale.
  5. Property corners and boundary line location and maintenance should be covered.
  6. Plans and activities for other values such as wildlife, water, and any other use of interest to the owner should be considered.
  7. Record keeping and accounting should be started for future reference and tax purposes.
  8. A date should be established for a review of the current plans; the date will depend upon the forest conditions and how much activiy will take place in the near future.

To implement a management program, a specific work plan covering what the owner intends to accomplish in the next year or two should be developed. It is desirable to list these items for a particular time of year; if there are not time goals, activities are often put off from year to year and nothing gets done. Keep records; you can do this on your woodland (or compartment) map.

A management plan is a tool to help landowners set goals, and assign priorities to woodland management activities. Systematic planning is a step to productive forests and satisfaction gained from owning woodland regardless of how large or how small an acreage you own.

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Last revised August 14, 1995.

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