Workshop Nov. 1 on managing forests

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 28, 2016

By Amy-Lynn Albertson

Rowan Extension Director

Deer season has started in the Piedmont of North Carolina.

As I drive through the county, more than once I’ve had to slow down or even stop while several white-tailed deer cross the road.

Deer can be a positive or a negative in the landscape depending on your end goals. If you have forestland, usually wildlife is a part of those goals. A forest is made up of many natural resources. Forests include trees and other plants, wildlife, water resources and soil. All of these resources are inter-related. Each species’ existence is influenced and modified by the others.

Trees take a long time to grow, so today’s decisions have long-term impacts on wildlife, water quality and other resources. The decisions you make about your forestland are influenced by many things, including your family situation, income needs, philosophy about land ownership and the environment.

You have to consider your resources, skills, time constraints and applicable regulations in your location. It is also important to consider the characteristics of neighboring forests, especially as they relate to wildlife, water and beauty.

In addition, you may be dependent on your neighbor’s forest management plans in order to accomplish yours. My own forestland has been ready for a pre-commercial thinning for three years. It is only because several tracts up the road are being cut, too, that we were finally able to get ours thinned.

We hired a consulting forester to help mark our timber and arrange the sale of the timber. A consulting forester can help you write your forest management plan as well as help you navigate the sale of your timber.

The consulting forester’s job is to make sure your goals and objectives are achieved in the sale. They will ensure that the logging company will follow your directions on roads and clean up.

A forest management plan can protect and enhance your forest with minimal input and impact. It is important that you consider all factors when creating your plan to make sure it is flexible for you and your heirs to follow.

A healthy forest isn’t always untouched. Changes in land use, wildlife populations, infestations by insects or disease and changes caused by weather or catastrophic events can lead to forest decline.

To keep a healthy forest that meets your needs, some management is usually needed. Cooperative Extension and the North Carolina Forest Service are offering a free workshop on managing your forestland and financial incentives for forest landowners on Nov. 1 from 6-8 p.m. at the Rowan County Extension Center. Experts from N.C. State Extension Forestry, N.C. Forest Service, Rowan Soil and Water, NRCS and the Rowan County Tax Office will be on hand to answer your questions. Please call 704-216-8970 to register.