Most forest land in New Hampshire is privately owned, and the duration of ownership of any piece of land is short compared to the life of a forest. Forests are complex mixes of resources deserving long-term care. Developing a plan can improve the outcome of forest management actions.
Private landowners own nearly 80 percent of New Hampshire forest land. Individual actions contribute to the sustainability of the state's forest, one woodlot at a time.
The trees we see today are here because of climate, topography, soils, and past uses of the land. Today's owners influence what tomorrow's owners will see on the land. Forest management and silviculture (the art and science of establishing and tending trees and forests) give us the tools to help shape what our forests will look like in the future.
Managing a forest using this manual to meet current landowner objectives without negatively affecting its use by future generations, requires active involvement, a sense of responsibility, knowledge of the opportunities, an awareness of the consequences of actions, and a clear set of objectives. The more known about the land, the better. Good stewards of the land consider water quality, aesthetics, fish and wildlife habitat, timber, recreation, soils, wetlands and other unique places, rare plants and unique natural communities, forest protection, and cultural and historical features.
A forest management plan is a working guide with recommendations. Developing objectives for the land is integral to planning (1.2 Setting Objectives). The plan describes the natural resources of a property in light of the landowner's interests and objectives. It normally includes maps and a written report with recommendations, prioritized with suggestions for timing.
The forest is mapped and described by stand (a grouping of trees similar in species, age, and site). Maps can be hand-drawn or computer-generated. They can be developed using remotely sensed information such as aerial photographs, based on field explorations, or some combination. A good map represents what exists on the land. Plans typically include the following composite or separate maps:
Written stand descriptions and management prescriptions (recommendations) are based on field-data collection. The level and type of inventory and field data gathered depends on the owner's objectives and budget. Stand descriptions include species, density, quality, accessibility, age class, understory vegetation, insects, diseases, and wildlife habitat such as snags, canopy closure, vegetative diversity, nonforest, wetland and other features. Management prescriptions are based on objectives and characteristics of the stand. They specify the likely results and consequences of suggested actions.
Help landowners determine their objectives, assess the resources on their woodlot and develop a long-term plan. The desired outcome is a well-tended woodlot.
See the The Current Use Criteria Booklet for additional requirements.
1.1 First Steps in Forest Management; 1.2 Setting Objectives; 1.4 Estate Planning and Land Protection; Chapters related to individual landowner objectives.
Bennett, K. P. 2010. Directory of Licensed Foresters Providing Service to Forest Landowners in New Hampshire. UNH Cooperative Extension, Durham, N.H. http://extension.unh.edu/fwt/dir/index.cfm Accessed on August 2, 2010.
UNH Cooperative Extension. Landowner Goals and Objectives Assessment Forms. http://extension.unh.edu/resources/resource/972/Landowner_Goal_Assessment Accessed on January 28, 2010.
N.H. Dept. of Revenue Administration. Current Use Criteria Booklet. http://extension.unh.edu/resources/resource/977/Current_Use_Criteria_Booklet Accessed on May 27, 2010.
N.H. Tree Farm Program. N.H. Tree Farm Program Management Plan Template. http://extension.unh.edu/resources/files/Resource001005_Rep1150.pdf Accessed on January 28, 2010.