Long-term sustainable forested land management should be guided by a management plan. Every forest is a unique mosaic of interconnected ecological systems- not simply a collection of trees. A proper management plan will consider everything from the roots to the treetops. We evaluate vernal pools, streams and wetlands, wildlife habitat, sensitive plant communities, recreational resources, risks and pathogens, cultural features and land use history, and vegetation in all layers of the forest.
A management plan is rooted in an inventory of existing features and resources. You may have heard the term “timber cruise”, but this is the old-school way of considering a forest. A forest inventory in the age of ecologically-based sustainable forestry is capturing all of the elements above, and incorporates detailed mapping and analysis using geographic information systems (GIS) – a technology that wasn’t even available for early timber cruising. We use a variety of tools, including digital data collection and GPS navigation in the field, laser measurement devices, unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), and sophisticated software to determine the existing conditions of a forest before considering any management activities.