- A Management plan is a written document that describes your forest's current condition and its needs assessment for future timber crops.
- The plan provides an organized decision framework that demonstrates active management, provides valuable records (for tax purposes and in case of timber theft or trespass), establishes current and future goals, gives a comprehensive look at all forest management variables, helps to systematically organize any decision making, helps consider the effects of one activity to other interests (such as how a harvest may effect water quality) and establishes effective communication of your interests and concerns to loggers, foresters or others you may work with in managing your timber. With a good plan, you will be less likely to make costly mistakes with your management decisions. My favorite phrase is "Failing to plan is planning to fail."
- Bottom line-look at a plan as being the same thing as a blue print for a house; plan what you want the forest land to look like before you ever take action on the ground. Traditionally, plans are prepared by a forester. State law says it should be reviewed by a qualified individual (consulting forester, staff forester, industrial forester, or agency foresters). Private landowners may prepare their own plan if they have any forestry knowledge and the agency forester can review it for compliance. Fees paid for professionally-prepared plans may be deducted on income taxes. There are also "cost share" programs that can assist in covering some financial aide for Stewardship Plans if landowners are interested. For more information, contact the Idaho Department of Lands or the Forestry Department at the Assessor's office.
- The minimum requirements needed in a management plan are:
- Property owner's name, date of plan preparation, name of plan preparer (if different then owner), legal description and parcel identification number(s) or bill number(s).
- Legible map (signifying project areas, land characteristics and access).
- General description of the existing forest stand(s) including species, age and size classes, stocking (dense to sparse), canopy coverage, water ways or riparian areas, topography and aspect(s) and estimated volume per acre or trees per acre.
- Identification of any health problems (insects, disease, suppression, weather, past management or lack thereof, natural or mechanical damage, etc.). Potential fire hazards, wildlife or aquatic life must also be identified.
- Condition of property lines (have they been located), is access adequate to stand
- Any uses other than forestry within the property boundaries.
- Type of equipment needed to harvest the stand(s).
After this information, lay out your blue print for what you want your property to look like and what type of crop want to be producing in 10 to 20 plus years. Next, plan out the management activities that are going to be initiated to accomplish your goals, both short-term (3 to 5 years) and long-term (10 to 20 plus years).
- Identify whether it is a pre-commercial or commercial activity (out of pocket or for profit).
- When it is projected to start and be completed, how and who will accomplish the work, what type of equipment will be used (hand, ground equip, cable, horse, etc.).
- Will there be any slash created and if so how will it be treated?
- What time of the year will work be done and why (i.e. if you have a thick stand of immature pine species you want to thin, because of potential insect problems, you will want to thin in late summer or fall and dispose of the slash in early winter or prior to the next spring melt).
- Identify what will be done for erosion control and stream protection (if one exists). Are new roads needed?
- What species of trees and product are you managing for (why and how)?
- What types of commercial harvests are projected in the future. Why, when and how will they be accomplished? How much volume (%) is projected to be removed in the harvest practice and will the harvest cover all or a portion of the ownership?
Remember one plan can cover multiple contiguous parcels or acres of the same ownership as long as their individual differences (if any) are identified within the plan and on the map. For more information, contact us at 208-446-1526.