The Timber Buyers Network

The Time to start managing your forest is Today!


Keys to Sustainable Woodland Management


1. Educate yourself about your forest and forest management options. Walk your woods with an observant eye. What do you find attractive? How do you envision it in five years? 10? Longer? Generate ideas by talking to natural resource professionals or reading literature provided by the extension service, soil conservation district or department of natural resources.

2. Set goals to accomplish what you want from the forest, based on the land's natural capabilities and your objectives for the future. Prioritize these goals, since it is unreasonable to assume you can reach all your goals in a short time. What is most important to you now?

3. Set objectives for the short-term activities that will help you achieve your goals. This is a good time to utilize the assistance of a natural resource professional for technical recommendations. A written plan is an excellent tool for translating goals and objectives into an easy to follow plan of action.

4. Implement your plan. Many activities can be accomplished by you at little or no cost. Other activities will take time, money and may require specific state permits. Your plan should also include a timetable for implementing activities. Sometimes there is financial assistance available to landowners for certain projects; your local DNR or farm services agency should be able to direct you to these assistance programs.

5. Enjoy the benefits of your management activities. Take the time to enjoy your healthier forest, wildlife and wildflowers, knowing that you are doing your best to insure that future generations will benefit from the healthy forests, clean air and water, timber products and recreational opportunities.

Does timber harvesting fit my goals?

Timber harvesting as a management tool. A commercial timber harvest may help accomplish your goals, improve forest health and wildlife and habitat and generate revenue. The primary consideration of any timber harvest is how and to what will your forest grow back after harvest. The type of harvest is dictated by several things and includes your ownership objective and current forest type and condition. The following is a brief outline of a variety of harvesting techniques used in Michigan.
    Single tree selections, also known as selection thinnings, are accomplished by removing the poor quality and larger mature trees and leaving a fully stocked stand of healthy trees. This type of harvest is done for a couple of reasons. First, it is used to help the remaining trees grow more quickly and with better form. Second, the additional sunlight that reaches the forest floor helps stimulate regeneration of shade tolerant trees like sugar maple and beech.
    Seed tree and shelterwood is used when your objective is to regenerate trees like white pine and oak that are moderately tolerant to shade. This harvest method is accomplished by removing most of the trees on the site and leaving scattered healthy, mature trees throughout the site. The trees that are left provide seed source and some shade for regrowing a new forest.
    Clear-cut harvest is most appropriate when you want to regenerate sun-loving tree species like aspen and jackpine. A clear-cut harvest is accomplished by harvesting all the trees within a forest stand and allowing full sunlight to reach the forest floor. We are fortunate in Michigan that our forests grow back quickly and naturally from this type of harvest. If adequate regrowth does not occur, trees will have to be planted. There are several programs available to assist you with the cost of planting.

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The Timber Buyers Network would like to thank the Michigan Forest Resource Alliance
for their help, and for the many information resources they have provided.