UACES Facebook Managing your Woodlands

 

Managing your Woodlands

Getting Started

Do you have woodlands and don't know where to start?  Woodland management really begins with understanding what you have and most importantly, what you want. You'll find resources and information here to help you get started on managing your woodland.

First Steps

Goals: Write down your landownership goals

The first step in getting started is to determine your goals and objectives for your woodland.  What do you want from your woodlands? 

  • Do you have to create a healthy forest?
  • What about wildlife?
  • Do you want to make income from selling wood products?
  • How interested are you in creating a forest legacy for your heirs?
  • Do you simply want to enjoy the beauty of your woods? 

Sit down with your family and talk about your goals, your vision for your woodland.  Do you and your family have a shared vision?

 

You can determine your goals by simply writing them down on a piece of paper.  You can also use the pre-set goals included in the American Forest Foundation on-line tool,  My Land Plan ,to help you as well.  Another useful on-line tool is Forest-A-Syst, hosted by the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service. Both of these interactive on-line tools will help you determine your goals, map your land, and get started on a management plan.

Once you've determined your goals, you are ready to begin developing a plan.  Why do you need a plan?  A written management plan outlines actions and activities designed to help you meet your goals.  It serves as a road map for your property regardless of your objectives.

What do you have?

Map your property using online applications. (Image courtesy of Google Earth).

A good way to begin developing a management plan for your woodlands is to map your land.  If you don't already have a map, you can either get one or create one. If you live close to your forest land, you can view aerial photographs of your property to your local Natural Resource and Conservation Service (NRCS) office.  Most offices have older aerial photographs and can create a copy for your use.  You can also use your county's Soil Survey and look for your land in the aerial photographs included in the book.  Although this is a start toward  mapping your property, many of these printed Soil Surveys are not up-to-date.

If you are familiar with your property's location, you can use on-line tools to map your woodland.

 

 

Mapping.

The American Forest Foundation has a great on-line tool entitled My Land Plan that can get you started.  The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission also has a mapping system. Each of these use Google Earth as the base map.  You can select different views, draw property lines, measure distances, and most importantly, understand how your woodlands are oriented within your local area.  You can see nearby waterways, clearings, and even forest types.

Once you've mapped your property, you can begin determining what forest resources exist on your land.  The simplest way to determine your forest type, condition, and existing products and resources is to hire a registered consulting forester to conduct an assessment of your land. 

Get Professional Help!

A consulting forester is a professional forester who advises and watches out for the best interest of a forestland owner. Consulting foresters are in business, so they charge fees based on the type of service offered. Foresters sell some services at hourly or daily rates, while other services are sold at rates based upon acreage. Fees for conducting forest products sales are usually charged as a percentage of the gross revenue from the sale. No matter how the fees are calculated, the most important thing to remember is that the consulting forester works for the landowner. When you hire a consulting forester, that forester is your representative in negotiations with timber buyers and service contractors. That forester is the one you hire to watch out for your best interest.  To learn more about consulting foresters and the services they provide, read our fact sheet.Learn more about consulting forestors

If you do not want to hire a consulting forester, the Arkansas Forestry Commission will also write forest management plans for you based upon your objectives.  The Arkansas Forestry Commission offers landowners a variety of technical assistance in forest management. Technical assistance is free of charge upon request. Contact the nearest AFC office or check out their on-line guide   for assistance. 

Services Provided by the Arkansas Forestry Commission 

The AFC offers services such as prescribed fire, management plans, and cost share programs
  • Land examinations based on landowner objective of the property
  • Written forest management plans.
  • Sample sales contract and a list of potential markets for landowners that want to sell timber. 
  • Work with landowners to identify and control forest insects and diseases.
  • Information about the availability of cost-share programs that will provide 50 percent or more of the cost to do tree planting, site preparation, and timber stand improvement.
  • Information and site recommendations for protection, restoration, and improvement (BMP's) of Arkansas' water and wetland resources.
  • Searchable data base of forestry consultants and forestry vendors

 

Wildlife Habitat Management

If you are interested in improving wildlife habitat on your property, most state wildlife agencies have biologists that will work with you to develop a management plan with these goals in mind.  The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission employs private lands biologists who can provide a written wildlife management plan along with current aerial photos identifying where wildlife practices are recommended. There are many state and federal agencies along with several private organizations that offer financial assistance to landowners to improve their lands for high-priority wildlife species. These programs offer incentive or easement payments, cost-share payments and other financial assistance to assist landowners in the establishment or enhancement of habitat. Private lands biologists are well versed in private lands programs and can direct landowners to appropriate programs for assistance.

To learn more about managing wildlife habitat, visit our wildlife habitat management page on this site.

Several State, Regional, and National agencies and organizations have programs, information, and personnel who can provide assistance in your woodland management.

Landowners at a Forestry Field Day. (Image courtesy UA Division of Agriculture.)

You can learn more details about managing your land through various avenues.  Attend field days, workshops, short courses, or get on-line and read about your topic of interest.  Several agencies and organizations provide excellent educational opportunities for new landowners.  Contact your local County Extension office to learn about these types of opportunities.

 

Join your landowner association.  To join the Arkansas Forestry Association, visit their website.

 

Get involved.  Get Started.

 

 

Image of a newly planted pine forest

Managing Pine

Are you interested in learning more about managing your pine forest? Click on the link below.

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Image of a hillside with pine and hardwood trees

Managing Hardwoods

Follow the link below to learn more about managing your hardwood forests.

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image of a doe white tail deer in a forest

Habitat Management

Is wildlife habitat management one of your ownership goals? Learn more by following the link below.

Learn more
Image of cut hardwood timber

Timber Market Report

Do you need to know the latest timber market report? Find the quarterly reports here.

Learn more
Man standing in the snow looking a bent pine trees

Natural Disaster

Has your woodland been damaged by storms or drought? What are the tax implications of storm damage? Learn more  by following the link below. 

Learn more

close up image of a caterpillar on an oak leaf

Forest Health

Is your forest healthy? To learn more about forest health follow the link to learn more.

Learn more

Publications

Making Sense Of Loblolly Pine Seedlings Varieties

University of Arkansas - Division of Agriculture

What Should I Know About Selling My Timber?

University of Arkansas - Division of Agriculture

Forest Landowner's Guide to Field Grading Hardwood Trees

University of Arkansas - Division of Agriculture

Wildlife Habitat Management for Arkansas Landowners

University of Arkansas - Division of Agriculture