Forests and woodlots are constantly changing. To get the most out of your property to meet your wildlife, recreational, aesthetic or economic goals, some type of regular management will be necessary. Getting the most out of your woods can be a challenge on your own. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help you.
Whether you are interested in wood products, wildlife, recreation, or scenery, proper management of your forest will help you achieve your goals and interests. If you haven’t been managing your woods, consider starting today.
Forest management is providing your forest with the care it needs to remain healthy and provide the benefits you desire. Forest management considers all parts of the forest community: soil, water, plants, animals, birds, and air, as well as the trees. The goal of forest management is a healthy, sustainable forest that accommodates any number of uses.
Common Indiana Forestry Conservation Practices
Forest Management Plan
An FMP is a site-specific plan developed for clients by a Technical Service Provider. The plan addresses one or more resource concerns on land where forestry-related conservation activities or practices will be planned and applied. Practices often included in a FMP are designed around the client’s objectives to address various natural resource concerns.
Benefits of a Forest Management Plan:
- Provides suggested activities to meet your forest objectives
- Guides long-term sustainable woodlands
- Plans out practices for program assistance
Forest Stand Improvement
Use of Forest Stand Improvement techniques help landowners manage species composition, stand structure, and stocking by removing selected trees and understory vegetation.
Benefits of forest stand improvement:
- Increase forest product quantity and quality, and restore natural plant communities
- Improve vigor; initiate forest stand regeneration
- Achieve desired crop tree stocking and density levels and increase carbon storage
- Reduce potential damage from wildfire, pests, and moisture stress
- Improve aesthetics, recreation, and wildlife habitat
Brush management techniques can be used in forestland to help landowners control invasive woody species problems such as bush honeysuckle, autumn olive, multiflora rose and many other woody invasive trees, shrubs and vines. Woody invasive species produce a tremendous amount of seed, often sprout aggressively and can be shade tolerant. These characteristics give them a distinct advantage over native species and oftentimes, if not addressed, can take over and even replace native plants, trees and shrubs. Research has shown that woody invasive species reduce tree growth, provide poor wildlife habitat and reduce native plants that benefit pollinators
Benefits of brush management:
- Removes competition so beneficial vegetation can re-establish.
- Creates desired plant community
- Improves wildlife habitat
- Enhances tree regeneration
- Increases tree growth and health
Providing adequate food and cover for wildlife.
Benefits of improved wildlife habitat include:
- Increasing fruit and mast(nuts)
- Improving forest structure
- Increasing forest diversity for forest wildlife including ruffed grouse, deer, wild turkey, woodcock, songbirds, etc.
Trees/Shrub establishment introduces woody plants to an area by planting seedlings or cuttings, direct seeding or natural regeneration. Once established, woody plants provide wildlife habitat, potential forest products, and long-term erosion control. They also improve air and water quality, sequester carbon, and enhance area aesthetics.
Benefits of tree planting:
- Provides wildlife habitat
- Protects soil from eroding
- Improves air and water quality
- Sequesters carbon
- Enhances the aesthetics of an area
Erosion control on forestland is protecting the soil with vegetation or structural practices to keep soil in place.
Benefits of erosion control:
- Prevents sediment from entering into streams
- Provides woodland safety
- Prevents and fixes ruts/erosion on forest trails and landings
Access Control offers an effective forestry management tool that provides temporary or permanent exclusion of animals, people, vehicles and/or equipment from an area to apply, maintain or install planned conservation practices or measures. One commonly used EQIP forestry application for proper Access Control is the physical construction of a barrier fence to exclude livestock from damaging the forest application area.
The benefits of access control include:
- Prevents livestock from compacting soil, damaging tree roots and bark, destroying food and nesting habitat for wildlife
- Protects seedlings from being trampled, uprooted or eaten
Riparian Forest Buffer
Riparian Forest Buffers consist predominantly of trees and shrubs planted adjacent to and upslope from permanent streams, lakes, ponds, wetlands and areas with groundwater recharge.
Benefits of riparian forest buffers include:
- Create shade to lower water temperatures for aquatic organisms and create camouflage for predatory fish
- Create wildlife habitat and establish wildlife corridors
- Reduce sediment, organic material, nutrients and pesticides in surface runoff
- Provide a harvestable crop of timber and fiber
- Provide protection against scour erosion within the floodplain
- Restore natural riparian plant communities