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A woodland stewardship plan is the most basic and important tool that you can have to help manage your woodland. It will help you develop a vision for your property, identify opportunities, and provide specific recommendation that can help make your vision a reality.
Step 1B: Set up an appointment with a forester for a "woods walk" on your property. If you are uncertain how to contact a forester, go to your state department of natural resources as a starting point. The goal of this walk will be to learn about the history of your land, the types and abundance of trees species on your property, the capability of your land, the ecological processes currently at work, opportunities for management, and financial and technical assistance programs that can help you meet your goals.
Step 2B: Identify and write down your woodland goals. Discuss with your family:
More specific wildlife goals may be to:
Step 2C: If you have multiple goals, prioritize those goals or think about where on your property each goal is most relevant.
Step 3B: Work with a forester to inventory and evaluate your property. Chapter 2: Conducting a Woodland Inventory ( PDF, page 9) describes specific inventory techniques that a forester often will perform, but you need to prepare for the forester's visit.
Step 3C: Get the deed for your woodland property and note its legal description. If you cannot find your deed, go to your County Recorder to request a copy.
Step 3D: Accurately locate your property boundaries and mark them with a fence, paint mark on trees, rock piles, stakes, or other means. If the boundaries are not clearly identifiable, you may want to have your land surveyed.
Step 3E: Clear brush from your property lines to make them more visible and avoid trespassing when you, your contractors, or your neighbors carry out forestry practices.
Step 3F: Gather historical facts concerning previous land use or management activities that could have influenced the development of your woodland to help the forester understand the composition of your woodland and to predict the results of future management practices. Such activities might include: livestock grazing, agricultural cropping, timber harvesting, tree planting, fires, pest outbreaks, and other disturbances.
Step 3G: While a forester should prepare a map of your property, you can save that person time and therefore, your cost, by collecting basic maps and information:
Step 3H: Make a list of all the information you want included in your woodland stewardship plan and give this list to your forester. It may include these components and others:
Step 4A: Read the section on Develop Stand Objectives and Management Alternatives ( PDF, pages 6-7).
Step 4B: Choose management objectives for each woodland stand that relate to your overall property goals. While your property goals tell the forester what benefits you expect to derive from your woodland as a whole, your management objectives indicate what benefits you expect to derive from a particular stand. Knowing your stand objectives, the forester can better recommend appropriate management practices.
Step 5B: Make a list of the resources you are willing to devote to woodland management.
Step 5C: Talk with your forester about how to overcome constraints, such as:
Step 6A: Read the section on Choose Management Practices and List Them on a Schedule ( PDF, page 7).
Step 6B: Prepare an activity schedule, covering at least five to ten years, that lists management practices and the approximate dates when they should occur. These are the practices recommended by a forester that you choose to do.
Step 6C: At least annually, plan to walk through your woodland and look for damage by pests, fire or wind, unauthorized harvest, damaged fences, and soil erosion.
Step 7B: Create a filing system to contain records that may be important when filing income tax returns, selling property, or settling an estate. Management records may include: