By Jim Kostrzewa, Forester, Kretz Lumber Company
If you own wooded property, you likely have a list of goals you’d like your land to achieve. A land management plan can help you identify those specific goals, establish a strategy for achieving them, and then also set a timeline to make it all happen. I’ve highlighted some of the more popular goals landowners share with me. Do your interests include any of the following?
- WILDLIFE, No..then see item 2. Otherwise, let’s narrow that down. Is your main interest in hunting? Yes, then what is your target game? Deer, grouse, turkey? Are you satisfied with the opportunities your property offers today? If not, what can be done to improve these? Perhaps you need more cover, or water, or maybe a food supply? How do you go about doing this? Could a timber harvest open up the canopy to stimulate more undergrowth to provide cover? Or do you wish to construct a pond or establish food plots to attract wildlife?
- NATURE, No..then see item 3. Do you want to interact/observe nature? Yes, then are you satisfied with your property as is or do you wish to or establish a trail system to allow easier access to your property? Perhaps you would like to add a food source for the wildlife? Can a timber harvest open up the canopy to stimulate more undergrowth to provide a food source and establish logging skid trails that make excellent walking/ATV trails for later use?
- TIMBER MANAGEMENT, No..then see item 4. Are your woods in need of a thinning or an improvement cut? How long has it been since you had a timber harvest? Are the tree species on your land the best suited to the soils you have or should a different species be encouraged to occupy the site? Do you want short rotations with frequent entries (thinnings) to your woodlot which are the management strategies used for sun loving short lived species such as pine or aspen? This strategy is termed even-aged and generally produces more pulp than logs. Or are you interested in longer lengths of time between thinnings and a perpetual forest (no final harvest) which is the management strategy used for more shade tolerant species found in a northern hardwood timber type? This type of management called uneven-aged generally produces more logs than pulp.
- CREATE A LEGACY FOR YOUR FAMILY, No..then…. you can see where I am going with this.
There are many other reasons landowners have for owning wooded property not listed here but you can see how a plan can help you identify and address your goals. How do you get this done? Do you have the knowledge to develop and implement your own plan or should you hire a professional to assist you with your goals? These are important questions to ask yourself.
If you decide to use professional assistance in creating or executing your land management plan, keep in mind that foresters are trained in multiple use management (timber, wildlife and water resources.) Although they are not necessarily experts in wildlife management, they can help you in many ways. This includes implementing a timber harvest, which as shown in the above discussion, can assist you achieving some, if not all, of your goals. And if a forester, such as myself, cannot answer all of your questions, we can point you in the right direction.
If you have questions related to land management plans for your property, contact our Forestry Services team by email or call us at 800-352-1438.