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

Sustainable forest management is a process. Think of it as the development and execution of a plan integrating all the principals, practices, and techniques necessary to properly care for the forest. Properly managing a forest ensures that it remains healthy and vigorous and provides the products and amenities that the landowner desires - and it all starts with a plan.

Most people plan for the important things in life, such as choosing a career, buying a house, taking a trip, and retiring. Their plans consist of written and unwritten objectives, some of which are more specific than others. Planning helps people to focus their ideas so they can reach their goals sooner than they would without planning. As such, forest landowners should have a written plan that organizes their personal objectives into a comprehensive strategy for attaining what they want from their woods – a Forest Management Plan.

A written forest management plan is a road map to responsible forestry. It is a guide that tells landowners what their resources are, what condition they are in, and what can be done to help achieve their goals. It considers short- and long-term objectives; analyzes the capabilities, limitations, and unique features of the land, looks at how their land fits into the surrounding landscape, and evaluates a wide range of the environmental and financial benefits and consequences of various activities. It has been proven that properly managed land can grow twice as much timber. At the same time, a good plan will enhance other forest values, such as wildlife habitat, recreation, and aesthetic values. 

Planning is not a single event, but a series of continuous steps leading to a desired goal. A plan can be as detailed (short-term recommendations) or as general (long-term recommendations) as a landowner desires. The first step is to determine priorities, set goals and identify the management activities to reach those goals. A professional forester or resource manager can help in identifying goals and developing a management plan. Landowners should consider consulting with:


>> Finding Help - where to find a consulting forester, service forester, or stewardship plan writer

>> Who can help me manage my forest?


Additional Resources:


  • Forest*A*Syst - a self-assessment guide, designed for a national audience, with the goals of helping new forest landowners articulate their objectives in a written management plan and foster a working relationship with a resource professional who can provide them with technical assistance.
  • My Land Plan - Offers a unique and specialized set of tools to help you find, store and use material that is especially tailored to your needs and goals.


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