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Indiana Tree Farm Getting Started with Woodland Management
Start by asking yourself some questions What do we have? – Family farm, sole ownership, LFP, LLC, etc. – Smaller woodlot scale limitation – Larger tract with older timber Often invites interest from timber buyers – Significant terrain features that present limitations – Surrounded by development – Use restricted by local land regulations
Where do our priorities lie? – – – Mostly for investment Is timber production my main objective? How important is wildlife viewing, habitat improvement, hiking, mushroom hunting, game hunting, and other forms of outdoor recreation? Will it be inherited? Condition upon its passage Are we looking to buy forest land? Non-resident owner Difficult to find time? Do we want to manage our woodland to its full potential?
Do we have the time and knowledge? - We have been doing our own research - Information is coming from many directions - It seems that time comes at a premium-now more than ever - We want to be good land stewards - Due to time and knowledge constraints, we feel it may be prudent to use a forester to assist us
Are we prepared to follow a forester’s recommendations? – Recommendations will be grounded on your objectives and priorities – The forester will offer different alternatives and point you toward valuable resources – You can always meet with 2 or three foresters to find one who matches your expectations
You decide to use a forester Where do we go from here Here are 5 steps to follow
Step 1 • • • Meet the forester on your property Try to have stakeholders present Share your objectives and thoughts while viewing your land Bring your documents (have extra copies of important items to give the forester) Take notes Have a list of questions in advance Normally this initial visit can be done in less than 2 or 3 hours.
Step 2 • • Map and define your property Have the forester prepare up-to-date topographic and aerial maps of your property You can help in this process Handheld GPS units Mark your boundaries. Confer with your neighbor if necessary
Step 3 Have the forester prepare a Woodland Stewardship Plan Preferably one that includes an inventory The plan will address numerous attributes of the property. This will include: Objectives, soils & topography, maps, forest cover types, stand data, recommendations, cutting history, matters related to water resources, wildlife and its habitat, sensitive areas & species of special concern, invasive plants, and archeological sites
Step 3 Continued • • • Have the Forester Develop a Plan Your objectives are a crucial part of the Plan The Stewardship Plan will identify the various management units These management units will come with suggested recommendations for practices and a suggested timeline to implement them Normally comprehensive of landscape The plan must be flexible; it can be easily reworded
Step 4 Implement the Stewardship Plan. • • Certain tasks may need your attention first Examples could include: invasive plant specie control, pre-harvest grape vine eradication, improving access, a harvest to salvage damaged timber, tree planting, and erosion control • • Do what you can Don’t get overwhelmed Can take years Note that Certified tracts in CF and TF must follow guidelines and performance measures Examples are: local regs, BMPs, and herbicide usage • Sound investment
Step 5 Keep moving forward and adapt • • • Modify the Plan as events arise Continue to seek knowledge All along the way, involve the other family members or stakeholders. Be thinking about inter-generational transfer • Visit the property in different seasons • Consider joining an organization such as Tree Farm, Indiana Forestry & Woodland Owners Assoc. (IFWOA), or enrolling in Classified Forest & Wildlands
The rest of the story…. Take satisfaction in knowing that the management and stewardship you are embarking upon will benefit all of society…. . The 4 pillars of the Tree Farm system: Wood Water Recreation and Wildlife
Resources Field guide……. 101 Trees of Indiana On the web…. . • Inwoodlands. org (a great site for past articles and links to other forestry sites) • Purdue University Forestry and Natural Resources • IDNR Division of Forestry Call. B 4 UCUT Demonstration Forests • NRCS (Indiana) • Woodweb • DNR sites for Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, and Michigan My email: [email protected]. net