American Forest Management Services: Forest Management Planning Services
Initial Assessment - The timberland management plan begins with a meeting with the owner(s) to determine their goals and needs. At this meeting we discuss:
Nature of the ownership (corporate, limited liability partnership, etc.)
Ultimate purpose for owning the property
Estimated time horizon for owning the property
Desired level of intensive vs. extensive management regimes
Wildlife and recreational considerations
Aesthetic, historic and other considerations
We also begin the groundwork to develop short-term management plans and long-term management plans. Short-term plans typically have two phases. The first phase is to design a plan for the immediate future - usually the coming year, and the second phase is to design a plan for years 2-5. Long-term plans are typically in five-year increments beginning with years 6 to 10 and continuing over the next 15 to 20 years. These plans are designed to implement the owner’s goals, while meeting the owner's cash-flow requirements, expense limitations and working within the conditions present on the property.
Current Inventory - After meeting with the owner(s) and determining their goals, an assessment of the current condition of the property is required to begin the actual forest management plan. This assessment is conducted in the field by our foresters, with assistance from our wildlife specialist and forest economist as needed. An inventory of the timber assets is designated to determine the following property attributes:
Species composition (pine, red oak, yellow-poplar, etc.)
Origin of stands (planted, aerial seeded, natural regeneration,etc.)
Soil types and quality estimations (potential for timber growth)
Recommended Strategies - After evaluating the options available to the owner(s) given the currently available assets of the property, the owner’s income requirements and other management goals, a management plan is designed. At this point, we also have the ability to outline other options that are available to the landowner if additional assets are brought into play. These options would be designed to improve return on investment, increase productivity of existing forest stands, enhance recreational enjoyment and other aspects of timberland ownership.
These recommendations include evaluation of:
Timber income enhancement
Intensive forest management options
Potential new cash-flows
Soil stabilization and soil erosion control
Exit strategies for liquidation or development of portions of holdings
Forest Maintenance - An integral part of any forest management plan is the ongoing maintenance required to protect the integrity of the property. The following are also offered as part of the comprehensive forest management services we provide our clients:
Boundary line designation and maintenance, which includes painting of established property lines and coordinating with registered surveyors on any property line discrepancies.
Supervision of firebreak construction and maintenance. Wildfire protection is very important, especially around younger stands, which are prone to wildfire damage. Firebreak placement along roadways and around residential areas protects the forest from the main wildfire sources.
Provide assistance coordinating a controlled burning program. Prescribed burning provides many benefits to the forest landowner such as hazard reduction and wildlife habitat improvement.
Establishment of an herbicide program. Herbaceous weed control and the elimination of undesirable woody species within plantations and on access and road rights-of-way.
Establishment of an insect control program. Threats from insect damage on the forest are a yearly problem. We assist in the aerial detection of insect damage, conduct ground checks of areas suspect of insect infestation and coordinate salvage or cleanup of insect damaged areas.
Provide ongoing access maintenance. Access is very important to every landowner. A good road system is an integral part of good forest management. We coordinate and supervise road construction and layout, design the layout of temporary harvesting roads and coordinate road maintenance to assure year-round access.
Establishment of a timberland fertilization program. Growth and yield are very important to the timberland investor. Studies have shown a tremendous increase in wood growth as a result of forest fertilization. We study the feasibility of a fertilization plan, implement the plan in coordination with a fertilizer applicator and provide follow-up as to the results of the plan.
Implement and manage hunting leases. As rates increase for hunting leases, they become more important to the forest landowner in the overall management of the property. We negotiate hunting lease rates with interested parties, provide sample hunting leases to the forest landowner, collect and distribute all hunting lease fees and periodically check for compliance of the lessee.