Why Do I Need a Management Plan?

If you’ve managed so far without a forest management plan, you may wonder why you need one. But having a management plan can bring you greater personal and financial benefits from your woods. Developing a plan makes it possible for you to:

  • Fare better at tax time. Having a plan reflects your commitment to careful long-term management, which reinforces the idea that your tree farm is a business. The IRS will appreciate that, particularly if you are claiming expenses, losses or income from your tree farm. Your plan can help you avoid tax problems, take advantage of tax incentives and advantages the IRS offers, and satisfy an auditor should you ever be audited.
  • Qualify for programs that can help you. Many cost-sharing, financial assistance and technical assistance programs that help landowners improve and care for their woods require you to have a forest management plan.
  • Better understand your woods and what they need. Part of planning will involve mapping your woods and taking stock of its trees—what kinds you have, how mature and healthy they are, and what your goals for the land might be. Knowing this will leave you better prepared to seize new opportunities, such as an uptick in the timber market, and plan for harvests or forest management activities that keep your trees healthy and align with your goals. It can also help you bounce back more quickly when natural disasters and other difficult situations arise.
  • Strengthen your family’s connection with the land. A thorough and well-maintained management plan is a detailed account of your land’s history and everything you’ve done to care for it. It will make it easier for your family or your heirs to understand your dedication to it and what that has involved, and to make informed decisions about the land with you or in your absence.

It’s up to you whether to create a management plan for your woods, and what to include in it if you choose to have one. But including certain key elements in it will help you reap the greatest rewards from planning.

Previous page 
Next page 

How can I get more tips?

It’s simple! Enter your email below.