Most forest management plans start out with some background information about the landowner and the property, to set the context for the rest of the plan. For example: Location, size, ownership, history and other details. Many woodland owners enjoy learning about their property history and value having a written record of it. If you are a relatively new property owner, you could ask your neighbors what they know.
Maps and photos
Your plan will contain several maps and aerial photos to provide a visual overview of the lay of the land. These maps will identify distinct forest stands and other features such as topography, streams, roads and structures. Many digital mapping tools exist although some landowners use hand-drawn maps or overlays to illustrate these details.
Goals and actions
- Improve forest health
- Protect against wildfires
- Provide and improve wildlife habitat
- Establish new tree plantings
- Enhance tree growth and quality in your forest
- Hunting or fishing
- Generate income from harvesting timber and non-timber products
- Restore native habitats
- Reintroduce or emulate the ecological role of wildfire in the forest
- Control invasive species
- Maintain and develop trails for hiking and skiing
- Develop and maintain trails for off-road recreational vehicle use
- Improve fish habitat, including stream-side forests
- Retain my land as a forest
- Opportunities to integrate agriculture and range use with forest management
- Provide benefits of trees to the environment
- Pass property on to heirs
Management plans contain descriptions of all the resources found on a forest property. The resources you have on your property may include vegetation (timber), water, fish and wildlife, roads, soils, recreation, aesthetics, and wildfire protection.
Recommendations for future actions
Management plans contain a set of suggested actions that the landowner can implement to improve the resources on his/her property and move in the direction of his/her goals. These recommended actions may be on-the-ground practices, or they may include things such as consultation with professionals or education. The plan now sets the landowner on a management trajectory for a period of five to ten years.
Business and operations
Developing a management plan is a good time to examine your ownership structure, tax status, and other fiscal matters. You’ll also consider legal and liability issues such as boundaries, easements, and security concerns. Many landowners also use their management plans as a way to keep track of expenditures and income associated with their management activities.