Planning for our forests can sometime feel like a big task, but it's one of the most important things we can do! Forest planning looks at everything, from what's in the forest and how is it doing, to what our goals as stewards of the wood. It also occurs at multiple scales, from developing management plans for individual properties to community-scale planning to promote forestland and conserve habitat for wildlife. Planning is about creating a vision for the future of the woods. Therefore, plans need to be thoughtful about the long term needs of the land, it's stewards, and our communities.
Forest Management Plans- A forest management plan is a roadmap for an individual parcel of forestland. It provides an opportunity for you as a landowner, a professional or a community to determine what you want, what you have and how to get what you want! A plan helps you understand the condition of your forest, identify your goals and provides an approach to reach them. Planning is a continuous process and should be updated regularly to account for a change in your objectives or changing forest conditions. In fact, a management plan is required to enroll in Use Value Appraisal, a program that provides a lower property tax rate for working forests, or any of the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) cost share programs.
Community Planning- Planning at the community level can have a profound impact on our forested landscape. Municipalities have an opportunity to take local action to ensure Vermont's forests remain health and productive. Vermont communities have a responsibility to plan for and manage public trees and forests and an opportunity to engage in land use planning to ensure the future of our forested landscape.
Discover more about planning for our forests:
- Create a management plan! Whether you are an individual landonwner or a community- your woods needs a plan! While a forest management plan should be done by a professional, checkout my land plan as a tool to help you get started identifying management goals and objectives.
- Hire a professional forester. Learn about the role of a professionals and find a consulting forester.
- Planning a Legacy for Your Woodlands. The vast majority of these forest landowners wish to see their forests remain intact. Unfortunately, however, all too often privately owned forestland gets broken up and sold into scattered, fragmented lots divided among heirs or sold off because landowners did not make long-term plans. Checkout this Resource Toolkit for Landowners to learn how to plan for the future of your woods.
- Create an urban forest management plan. Learn more about urban forest inventories and management planning and get your community moving it’s a local urban and community forestry program forward.
- Learn more about getting forests and forestry into your town plan. Checkout resources on Forest Stewardship from Central VT Regional Planning
- Learn more about natural resources on your property or in your town. Checkout the ANR Natural Resource Atlas and Bio Finder, online interactive maps to help town planners, conservation commission and others discover high priority natural features crucial to Vermont’s forest and wildlife.
- Does your town have a town forest? Find your town forest and checkout the Town Forest Stewardship Guide a community user's manual for town forests.
- Discover land use planning strategies that ensure the future of Vermont's forest. Checkout the Community Wildlife Program and Community Strategies for Vermont’s Forests and Wildlife: A Guide for Local Action for more information and tips on keeping forests forested.