Many private citizens, businesses, organizations, and governments work with forestry management contractors to protect their lands. Planning is fundamental to the skillful management of forests, but you need to know what a good plan looks like. These five elements often appear in forestry management plans.
You will enact your plan over a property, and you need to describe the location in reasonable detail. Using records from your county registry, the first order of business is to identify the property lines. If there hasn't been a survey in the last couple of decades, conduct one. The same applies if there have been major weather or geological events in the area that may have changed the landmarks, topography, or hydrography.
Each map should identify key features. Identify all legally designated areas such as forestry management units and federal or state game lands. Do the same for any named or numbered roads, trails, and bodies of water on the map.
Soil maps are also helpful. These can help you identify where there might be erosion issues and zones where certain species of trees may struggle.
Include a general history of the property with a focus on land development and commercial activities. For example, a forestry management plan should state where and when people farmed or logged on the property.
A plan should include a description of what trees and other major plants are present. If you have a unit with many oak trees, for example, you should identify the unit and describe the trees and their dominant neighbors. Similarly, you may want to note where there are drainage systems or issues. It is also wise to identify spots where there are slopes greater than 15 degrees.
Outline which forestry management practices are actively in use. For example, trimming weak branches to keep tall trees vital is a common practice. If you're not currently using any management practices, simply state that fact.
Monitoring capabilities should go in this section, too. If you have cameras on the property, identify where they are. Note the use of drones and satellite imagery along with the frequency of data collection. If you regularly take specimens from trees, include those in the list.
Goals for the Property
Ultimately, the forestry management contractors need actionable goals to pursue. If you're trying to mitigate forest fire risks, for example, state that goal. Starting reforestation and stopping erosion are also common objectives. If there are special considerations for achieving these goals, such as preserving grazing lands, briefly note them in the plan.