Women landowners help make management decisions on the over 1.8 million acres of New Hampshire forests and are primary decision makers on approximately 23% of the state's private forestland. Nationally, women are a growing part of the landowner population, but research has shown that they are less likely to participate in management activities and face more significant land ownership challenges than men. Women-owned forests provide diverse public values, including wildlife habitat, forest products, water quality, climate mitigation, and recreation, but women may lack the tools, resources, and confidence to make informed stewardship decisions and effectively manage their forestland.
As one step towards providing support for these important and historically underserved landowners, the Women in the Woods project is launching the Women’s Forest Planning Program to increase the amount of women-owned forestland with stewardship plans in New Hampshire. The Women’s Forest Planning Program will provide financial support to women forestland owners to work with licensed foresters to develop a forest management plan for their property.
What is a forest management plan?
A forest management plan (FMP) is a site-specific working guide with recommendations to achieve long-term forest management goals. It’s developed based on the landowner’s interests and objectives and the professional expertise of a skilled forester. FMP’s describe the natural resources of a property and normally include maps and a written report with recommendations, prioritized with suggestions for timing. They typically address timber, water quality, aesthetics, fish and wildlife habitat, recreation, soils, wetlands and other unique places, rare plants and unique natural communities, forest protection, and cultural and historical features. Forest management plans help landowners determine their objectives, assess the resources on their woodlot, and develop a long-term vision for their property. You can see examples of forest management plans by clicking here.
Stipends will be paid directly to NH Licensed Foresters who develop forest management plans for participating forest landowners. The program will accept forestland 20 acres and above and will pay a stipend of $25 per acre, up to $1,500 per landowner. Forest owners with greater than 61 acres will receive a stipend at the maximum amount of $1,500. We recognize the stipend will only cover a portion of the total cost of the forest management plan. The landowner will be responsible for the remaining cost of the plan (an amount negotiated between the landowner and the forester) based on their contract with the licensed forester.
Forest management plans developed as part of the Women’s Forest Planning Program must be written by a New Hampshire licensed forester* and meet the criteria outlined in Women’s Forest Planning Program: Forest Management Plan Requirements. Plans will be reviewed by the UNH Cooperative Extension County Forester before final approval and stipend payment. It is suggested that draft copies of plans be made available to the appropriate UNH Cooperative Extension County Forester and landowner for review prior to reporting the completion. You can see the plan requirements here.
*Depending on landowner goals and objectives, the Women's Forest Planning Program may allow for the development of a Wildlife Stewardship Plan by a qualified wildlife biologist. This determination will be made on a case-by-case basis in collaboration with and under the guidance of the Extension County Forester.
- Women and gender non-conforming landowners with a minimum of 20 forested acres.
- Applicants do not need to be sole landowners and may own land jointly, but should play a significant role in land management decisions.
- Applicants must be non-industrial private forest landowners. The following are not eligible: federal, state, or local governments; corporations with publicly traded stock; and forest products manufacturers.
- Applications will be reviewed and ranked based on multiple criteria, including:
- Acreage – priority will be given to properties larger than 25 acres)
- Priority NH Landscape ranking – maps developed by the NH Division of Forests and Lands as part of the 2020 NH Forest Action Plan
- New Plan vs. Revision/Update – applicants with an existing forest management plan may apply, but prioritization will be given to properties/landowners with no existing plan or where a major change has occurred
Process & Timeline
September 1, 2023: Applications available
Interested and eligible landowners can download and complete the application, and submit it (along with any supplemental documents) to the application submission form here.
January 2024: Application review begins.
Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis after this date.
February 2024: Accepted landowners are notified.
Landowners schedule a meeting with their UNH Extension County Forester for a site visit to their property, preliminary discussion of their goals and objectives, and referral to a NH licensed forester that can develop the forest management plan for their property.
Spring 2024: Landowners hire a NH licensed forester and share the Women’s Forest Planning Program: Forest Management Plan Requirements.
While the landowner and forester will have an independent contract, both will also be asked to sign an agreement indicating the stipend amount UNH Extension is committed to paying the forester upon plan completion. This amount will be based on acreage (see above) and will only cover a portion of the total cost of the forest management plan.
February 1, 2025: Forest management plans are completed.
February 2025: Forester sends completed plan to UNH Extension County Forester for plan review & approval. Upon approval, UNH Extension will pay the committed stipend amount directly to the forester.
February 2025: Forester sends completed plan to landowner. Landowner pays forester the remaining balance for the cost of the forest management plan based on their contract.
Women in the Woods is a collaboration between UNH Cooperative Extension, NH Timberland Owners Association, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, and other partners aimed at connecting women forest landowners, managers, and stewards with the resources, skills, and community they need to make informed stewardship decisions that promote healthy forest resources. Funding for this program provided by a Landscape Scale Restoration Grant, U.S. Forest Service.