Work with a Forester

Forestry is a science that requires an understanding of how trees grow, reproduce, and respond to changes in the environment, as well as how to manipulate woodlands to meet a landowner's goals. Foresters are professionals with knowledge of forest ecosystems and processes and experience in managing forests. Work with a forestry professional to develop a stewardship plan for your property. Depending on your interests and resources, you also may need to work with other experts in fields such as wildlife, soil, water, and recreation. Some forestry services are free, while others require payment, but their value is enormous compared to the costly errors with longterm consequences that you could make on your own.

Your state department of natural resources and some soil and water conservation districts have foresters available to visit your woodland, answer your questions, and help you prepare a woodland stewardship plan. They also administer other planning, property tax incentive, and cost-share programs.

Private consulting foresters are independent contractors who help landowners prepare woodland stewardship plans, market timber, plant trees, or perform any other management practices. Consultants charge for their services, but in some states, the cost of woodland stewardship planning still may be paid for by a state agency.

Forest products companies employ foresters to buy timber from private lands. Some of these foresters also write management plans for woodland owners in exchange for the right to match the highest bid on your timber when your woodland is ready for a harvest.

Extension foresters at universities offer educational conferences, workshops, field tours, publications, web sites, and other materials to better inform you about forestry options.