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[ Forest Management Plans ]     -     [ Developing a Plan ]     -     [ Certifying Your Forest ]     -     [ Forest Legacy Planning ]

Steps in developing a forest management plan typically include:


Identifying your goals and objectives

The first step in developing a management plan is to identify landowner objectives - what products and amenities the landowner wishes to obtain from the land. It is imperative that these objectives be identified at the beginning because they determine what resources should be inventoried/assessed and define the goal of the management plan. A well-written plan should begin with a statement of goals for ownership. Long-term goals are achived through specific managment activities such as timber stand improvement, thinning, timber harvests, site preparation, and regeneration.


Identifying and maintaining your property lines and corners

Identifying and marking property boundary lines and corners is an important step in preparing to manage a forest. Poorly marked boundary lines could lead to timber trespass, that is, the harvesting of a neighbor’s timber. Pennsylvania's Timber Tresspass Law (Title 42 § 8311) allows landowners to bring a civil lawsuit to recover three times the value of the timber cut or removed in cases of intentional trespass or two times the value for negligent trespass. Property deeds, topographic maps, and aerial photographs will greatly aid in identifying and re-establishing your boundaries; however, landowners may need to hire a professional surveyor. Management plans should include a map showing the location of the property, boundaries, access, timber stands/management units, soil types, and other key features of the property.


Inventorying resources on your property

Once ownership objectives have been defined and boundary lines have been identified, resources can be inventoried. An inventory of the resources on a property would include general plant/tree communities, water resources (streams, spring seeps, wetlands, vernal ponds), soils, and unique areas (endangered, threatened, or rare species habitat, geological features, notable vies, etc.). The inventory should take into consideration how the resources on the property fit in with the surrounding landscape.


Creating a written management plan

A forest management plan applies a landowner's goals to their forest and then creates a timetable or schedule for the completion of the reccomended activities that work towards maintaining or achieving those goals. The careful development of a forest management plan in consultation with a professional forester is essential if landowners are to achieve their desired ownership objectives. The forest management plan is the blueprint of activities for caring for their forest. It is important to remember, too, that the management plan is not "cast in stone," but is an evolving plan that should be periodically reviewed and updated.


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