Forest Management Planning
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Photo credit: Andy Bauer.
Why it's important:
Unlike farms, which function on seasonal cycles, forests take decades to reach maturity.
A young forest requires attention and management. Writing a forest management plan for your woodland property is an effective way to ensure your forest grows into what you envision. Investing the time upfront to plan for your forest’s future will help you avoid costly mistakes and unforeseen obstacles. Formalizing your vision has practical benefits related to taxes, record keeping, cost-share eligibility, and ensuring your woodland is properly managed by future generations.
What’s in a forest management plan?
Forest management plans are useful tools to help you think through what you’d like to achieve with your woodland and the steps you will take to get there. Typically, forest management plans include:
A Detailed Property Description
- Property background
(including historic and current uses)
- Maps and photos of forest topography and terrain
- Soil types
- Water resources
- Property access, roads, and infrastructure
- Forest health conditions
Your Management Objectives and Vision
Some examples may include:
- Improve forest health
- Protect against wildfires
- Provide and improve wildlife habitat
- Control invasive species
- Generate income from harvesting timber and non-timber products
- Maintain and develop infrastructure for hiking and recreation
Business Management Documents
- Legal or liability considerations related to boundaries, security, and easements
- Expenditure and income tracking
- Regulatory compliance records
Your Action Plan
- 5- to 10-year outline of future management actions
- Monitoring plan to observe conditions over time
- Road maintenance schedule
- Investment into forestry education
- Steps necessary to achieving desired certifications
It is important that all parties involved with the forest’s daily care also participate in planning.
Think of a management plan as a living document. Making changes as time goes on and priorities shift is to be expected.
What is important is that changes, and the conditions that lead to those changes, are well-documented to ensure informed future decision making.
Our Forest Conservation Program can help you develop your forest management plan or direct you to additional resources to help you write one yourself.
OSU Extension’s Forest Management Planning website includes planning document templates and a directory of Oregon forestry organizations that can be of assistance.
Management Planning for Woodland Owners: A Visual Guide is an online module by OSU Extension that explores important management planning topics.
My Land Plan is an online planning tool hosted by the American Forest Foundation to assist landowners with mapping their property and developing goals.