Forest Management Plans

Contents of Forest Management Plans

I.  Stand descriptions are based on inventory data of vegetation (trees and shrubs), soils and topography (access).

    A. Data are from topographic maps, aerial photos, soil maps and inventory sample points.

      1. All available map data are gathered first to make a base map to plan out the inventory data gathering process (cruise).

      2. Sample points are laid out and taken on cruise lines which go across the topography.  A sufficient number are taken to get volume accuracies to within specified statistical confidence levels for stand types and for the whole property.

      3. Site index (a measure of soil productivity) data are taken from soil surveys.

      4. Sample point data are correlated with aerial photos and topographic maps to define stand types which are areas with similar vegetation, soils and topography.

    B. All these data are analyzed to develop descriptions of the different stand types according to the following attributes.

      1. Species, age/size, per acre volumes, past management and land use, plus timber management potential.

      2. Recreational and aesthetic qualities.

      3. Wildlife habitats.

      4. Stewardship (SIP) will also have information on localland use patterns, watershed description and long-term stewardship considerations.

II.  Management practice recommendations are the product of viewing the inventory data within the framework of the owners' management objectives.

    A. Ownership objectives are determined through questionnaires, interviews and past management plans.

      1. Financial objectives may indicate timber harvesting practices and scheduling.

      2. Recreational goals may indicate trail construction, creation of scenic vistas, or aesthetic  cuttings and prunings.

      3. Wildlife habitat enhancement goals may indicate specific types of harvesting or tree planting.

    B. Inventory data will narrow the possible options for each stand.

      1. The size of the trees and access to them will influence the practicality of cutting operations.

      2. Existing trails and unique topographical features will influence recommendations for improvements.

      3. Food sources and cover types for wildlife will influence habitat definitions and options for improvements.

      4. Unedited computer inventory data plus a treatment and growth simulation for the whole property is provided at no charge.  Additional simulations with analysis cost extra.

    C. Recommendations for management practices will be determined by evaluating all these  factors and trying to maximize one or more objectives for each stand.

      1. All plans will include cutting prescriptions with estimates of volumes to be removed, plus suggestions for scheduling of the cutting operations.

      2. This may include computer simulations of cutting operations which show cut and residual volumes and values, plus a financial analysis of the growth of the residual stand.

      3. Costs of trail construction, plantings and prunings may also be included.

      4. The final draft of the management practices is subject to review and approval by the owners.

    D. Maps will be made to accompany the stand descriptions and management practices.

      1. The stand type and boundary map is drawn over a watermark topographical basemap at 1"=300'-600', depending on the size of the property.

      2. Stand type maps include stand boundaries, stone walls, wire fences, streams, trails and other physical features.

      3. The locus map shows the location of the property on a section of the topographical map at 1"=2000' .

 III.   Implementation of the management practices will follow approval of the plan.

    A. Operations will be timed to optimize market and operating conditions.

      1. Timber markets are normally best in the fall and winter.

      2. Soils are usually frozen in winter and dry in summer and early fall.  At other times of the year some soils may be too wet to operate with heavy equipment.

      3. Tree planting may be done in the spring or early fall.

    B. Cutting operations for different stands may be aggregated.

      1. Economies of scale will often indicate this for smaller properties.

      2. Detailed estimates of costs and returns will be provided in advance of implementation of any management practices.