Creating a Forest Management Plan

by Danielle St. Cyr | June 5, 2020

Forests in the United States provide a number of resources we use in our everyday lives. From timber and cultural resources to habitat for wildlife and countless recreational activities, it’s clear we must take caring for them seriously. With forests being subject to climate change (like changes in temperature, extreme weather events, and an increase in pests and disease), a plan to manage them and their health is imperative.

Forest looking into green meadow

So, what is forest management and what does it entail? Forest management is “a branch of forestry concerned with overall administrative, legal, economic, and social aspects, as well as scientific and technical aspects, such as silviculture, protection, and forest regulation”. For GreenVest, forest management projects result from conservation efforts, in hopes to keep the land in a healthy state and at its peak functionality for wildlife and plants. 

One of the first things that needs to be in place when taking on a forest management project is a Forest Management Plan. In fact, some federal, state, and other programs such as the Forest Stewardship Program, Landowner Assistance Program, USDA assistance programs, and many others require a management plan as part of participation in the program. This plan ensures that the project fulfills all objectives on time and within budget, and is a great place to lay out all of the varying resources and different aspects of the project.

A good Forest Management Plan has 6 components:

Meadow surrounded by evergreen forest
  1. Plan Objectives: In this section, everything that you want to accomplish with the proposed actions should be listed – your goals. You can ask yourself questions such as: How will the property be used? What are your priorities? What are your timber, wildlife, and habitat goals?
  1. Location of the property and its history: Of course, it’s important to note the exact physical locations and dimension of the property and roads, streams, and other geographical features, such as through a survey map. Careful note should also be made of how the property has been used in the past, and if any clearing has previously been done, as that may affect how your project will have to proceed.
  1. Assessment of all resources in the scope of the project: This section contains a description of all the tree types, other vegetation types, bodies of water, soils, wildlife uses, and potential recreation uses. Usually this is done by sampling, and the number of samples taken depends on the variability and the size of the project.
  1. Recommendations for client: This section contains specific recommendations (usually in 5- or 10-year timeframes), along with the expected outcomes of these recommendations. These recommendations may be for the entire area of the project, or for specific areas within the general area, and may include such things as where to plant, where to burn, where to harvest, and which forest regeneration models to use.
  1. Detailed schedule of all project activities: This section lists a time frame for all planned actions, and usually also contains all the budgetary and financial considerations for each activity. As activities take place, careful records should be kept for legal, regulatory, and tax reasons.
  1. Any supplemental information that might be useful or provide reasoning for choices made: This is the appendices section, and here you might find an overall financial summary, any research publications used in creation of the plan, and a list of all helpful contacts.

Creating a thorough Forest Management Plan is key when beginning any forest management project, and GreenVest can be your guide through this process. Our years of experience in all aspects of forest management, from regulatory to financial to execution, will give you peace of mind. Knowing that your project will be a success from start to finish, and unexpected surprises will be kept to a minimum and immediately and successfully addressed, allows you to focus on the beautiful and ecologically sound habitat that you are creating. Contact GreenVest today to get started on your Forest Management Plan, or to consult on any other environmental or restoration project you require.