General tips for private
Develop a complete
All forests benefit from proper planning and implementation of
the plan. Through this process, forest owners learn a great deal
about the species, size, and quality of the trees on their property.
Generally speaking, forest plans include an inventory of timber,
maps, descriptions of stand quality, and a schedule of activities
to improve the condition of the forest to meet the owner's goals.
A forest plan need not be complicated nor expensive. They act
as good "memory joggers" during the years you will own
Mark your forest
boundaries clearly on a map and in the woods.
Use bright flagging to mark the actual property line, which helps
prevent timber theft. If your property survey is outdated, consider
hiring a surveyor to make corrections and updates. Use paint to
mark a property boundary only with the assistance of a professional
crew or clear agreement with your neighbor.
Use caution with
surprise offers to cut timber on your property.
Dishonest loggers or timber brokers who make "cold calls"
may not have your interests in mind. In many cases, New York landowners
have been cheated out of the real value of their timber, thinking
that the offer was too attractive to pass up. Check their credentials
or ask a professional forester for a second opinion.
to choose a forester to assist with timber harvest planning
List the things
about your forest that are important to you.
Setting your goals and reasons for owning forestland is easy and
Look into property
tax and income tax aspects of private forest ownership.
Thousand of dollars are given up in taxes each year by forest
owners unaware of special programs for tax abatement on forested
lands and income tax implications of private forest management.
Contact a professional forester or Cornell Cooperative Extension
educator for more details.
Monitor for disease
and insect infestation.
Forest owners can alert biologists to the threat of insects and
other pests that can bring great harm to forest stability. Spend
time observing the bark, leaves, and branches of the trees in
your forest. If you encounter unusual conditions, make a point
to record all the information you can about your observations
and bring them to a qualified diagnostic entity, such as Cornell
Cooperative Extension, a forester, or an arborist.
Walk your woods
with a volunteer Master Forest Owner or a DEC forester.
Their free advice will help you gain insights about how timber
is managed and sold these days. DEC foresters can also inventory
your woodlot. Consider contacting Cornell Cooperative Extension
for information about non-timber woodland projects like ginseng
production, forest-grown mushrooms, and maple syrup production.
Education, assistance, and sometimes special funds are available
through the Natural Resource Conservation Service, DEC, and the
Soil and Water Conservation District in your county. These government
programs greatly increase your abilities and reduce your costs
for planting trees, creating habitat, preventing destructive forest
fires, and preventing forest health problems.
If your plan stipulates
a timber sale, contact a DEC Cooperating Consulting Forester.
The consulting forester you chose can review your plan, mark trees
to be harvested, and request bids from logging companies. The
company submitting the highest bid, and is willing to harvest
according to your plan, can sign a timber sale contract. This
contract focuses the harvest to the marked trees for a set compensation.
You may have to negotiate items like habitat restoration, removal
of treetops, and erosion control activities.