Whether you own forest land for recreation or because it is where you live, proper management is a must. A properly managed forest is a healthy forest -- resistant to wildfires and disease, as well as able to support a wide ecological diversity. The following are some management concerns that you need to know.
Exotic and Invasive Management
Invasive plant and animal management is, unfortunately, a common issue on both private and public lands. Invasive plants can overtake the native flora, bringing down mature trees and choking out native understory plants. Invasive fauna, including both large animals and small insects, can also lead to major issues. A borer infestation, for example, can destroy an entire ash forest, and pine beetles have left some forests full of nothing more than standing deadwood.
Past damage can also have a major impact on your land. A second-growth forest that is recovering from over-logging may suffer from lack of diversity, in both the age and species of the trees. Loss of topsoil can also be an issue that is impacting the necessary succession of growth for a healthy forest. Another common problem with forested land is past over-grazing of livestock that left bare soil beneath the struggling trees.
Targeted Timber Harvests
Sometimes the issue isn't over logging, but not enough logging. A forest filled with too many trees growing too closely together is more susceptible to the spread of disease. Further, the dense growth weakens the trees as they struggle for the light and nutrients available. Without the exposure to natural cycles of burns, you end up with a forest that is more likely to suffer a dangerous and devastating wildfire. Targeted timber harvesting may be the only way to thin the forest in a healthy manner.
Management Plan Development
Managing a forest is not a one-time job. You need to develop an ongoing plan to make sure that timber is harvested responsibly in a way that best benefits forest health. You need a plant to inspect for and manage diseases and invasive pests, as well as catch native fauna problems like overgrazing. In order to develop the right plan, it helps to work with professionals who can help you determine your goals for the forest. This way, you can develop a management plan to address wildlife and plant needs, soil management practices, and any timber harvesting plans that you may have.
Contact a forestry consulting service for more help in managing your private woods.Share