What is in a Management Plan?

Your management plan is unique to you and your woods. It can be basic and only a few pages long, or it can fill a large binder or book. But there are a few basic elements it must contain:

Property information. Your management plan should include a description of your property as it appears on your deed, with precise locations for your boundary lines. If possible, also include the history of your land. Who owned the land and for how long? How did they use the land (for agriculture, timber, etc.)? What kinds of management activities did they do? This information can help you identify the land’s potential uses and plan for its future.  You MyLandPlan.org account allows you to create a Property History, providing questions to help you create the history for your land as well as a place to archive photos and documents related to your property. 

A map. Your plan should also include a map detailing your property boundaries and all the notable features on your land: roads, fence lines, land or structural features, special sites, different forest or vegetation types, and any areas where invasive, threatened or endangered species are found. Aerial photographs and survey or topographical maps are helpful.  Your MyLandPlan.org account provides you access to easy to use mapping where you can map your property boundaries as well as the trails, roads, hunting stands, and other features that are found on your property

An assessment of your resources. Taking stock of what’s on your land is essential if you’re planning forest management activities or harvesting timber on your property. With the help of a natural resources professional, you may want to conduct an inventory of the number of trees per acre, the tree species, and the tree diameters on your land. This inventory can help you clarify your goals for the land, and it can add detail to your map and description of the land by revealing potential problem areas or special habitat in your woods.

Your goals and objectives. This is the most important part of your management plan—a statement of what you want out of your woods. This may mean listing your goals for the land, your desired outcomes, the values you want to protect on your land, or all of these items. For example, your objectives might include generating income from occasional timber harvests, while protecting habitat for deer and turkey and maintaining rich recreation opportunities for your family and friends.  We'll explore how to set your goals and objectives in more detail.

Your management recommendations and schedule. This part of your management plan outlines what you must do to achieve your goals. Where to plant or regenerate tree stands, where to establish wildlife food plots, when and where to burn, which areas to harvest, and how best to conduct each of these management activities—all of these recommendations should be included in your plan, along with a schedule of when these activities are to take place.  The Task List tool on MyLandPlan.org helps you keep track of your upcoming tasks as well as archive previous tasks, including adding pictures and saving those important documents such as receipts or contracts. 

You may choose to include additional materials in your management plan. Some woodland owners list all the details of their management activities (for example, the specific herbicides they used or what kinds of weather conditions were present during a prescribed burn), and include receipts, photographs and other supplementary records in their management plan. It’s up to you—but in general, the more information you include, the more useful your plan will be to you and to your family.

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