If you’re a landowner, you likely own your property for multiple reasons, but how do you prioritize and improve upon the land to realize your goals? Maybe it’s a family getaway from the city life, riding atv’s or hiking trails, hunting, or maybe it’s economically driven, but whatever your reason for owning your property, often times you are looking for ways to improve upon the land to make it more user friendly. This task can feel overwhelming for a landowner who doesn’t have a natural resources background. And with all of the “do it yourself” YouTube videos available, this overwhelming feeling of where to start might leave you feeling like a needle in a haystack, or a small twig in the big woods.
As a landowner, prioritizing your landowner objectives is the first step in maximizing your lands potential. Before walking a property with a landowner, I like to establish 3-5 goals the landowner would like to achieve, in order of importance. Throughout my career I have heard some pretty interesting goals, but often times, the same ones always make the list. The order of importance is where listening carefully is key. Recreation, hunting, aesthetics, forest health, and economics are usually always on the list, but knowing the order in which these goals fall in relation to each other is where that overwhelming feeling of where to start can be put behind us. Once we as foresters understand the goals and the order of importance, we can start facilitating harvest practices to help reach these goals.
There are many different harvest techniques we can use to help landowners obtain their goals. Often times several goals can be targeted through one technique, other times it takes a little more planning and creativity to check each goal off the list. Knowing the soils, species composition, regeneration techniques, and the surrounding landscapes will help us put together a plan that fits your property and landowner goals. Selection thinnings, group thinnings, clear-cuts, trail improvements, openings, and plantings are just a few of the countless techniques we can discuss to meet these goals.
If you’re a landowner with a list of goals and you’re not sure where to start, begin with putting those goals in order of priority and give your local forester a call. Or, reach out to myself or any of the other foresters on our team. A walk on the property and a discussion of your goals can get the ball rolling to maximizing your forestland potential.