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A woodlot is a piece of woodland or forest that is capable of producing small scale lumber, wood fuel, sap, maple syrup, saw wood, or pulpwood. Wood lots can also be used as recreation areas such as parks and bird watching venues. If you are an owner of a woodlot, effective management of the area can bring good income for your family and co-owners. Coming up with a woodlot management plan in Somerset County, NJ can help take care of the environment and protect your investment.

Here are some tips on how to make a basic woodlot management plan.  

  1. Objectives

Just like a regular business plan, a woodlot management plan needs to start by stating the objectives. This will tell you what you want to achieve over a specific period of time. Before doing anything to the land, you need to you have to know what you want out of it. What is it going to produce? What do I want from it in the future?

Your objectives need to be reasonable. For example, perhaps you want to produce $10,000 worth of wood pulp each year. This is only doable if you have enough land and trees to produce this amount. You cannot expect a piece of wood lot to produce a high number of products if it is too small.

Before finalizing your objectives, you need to think about your goals, and ask yourself if they are realistic and obtainable. Aside from this you also need to consider your financial resources, time you can spend on managing the woodlot, characteristics of the property, and your personal experience as a woodlot manager. This will help keep frustration at bay if the property is not doing as expected.

  1. Property Information

A good woodlot management plan for Somerset County NJ also needs to include the property information. This is basically a legal description of the land, its location, size, and information about the owners (name, address, contact info, etc).

The property information should also include assessment of the condition of the resources that need to be managed such as timber, wildlife, and soil.

This is basically an inventory of what you have. Knowing what you have in your woodlot will make it easier for you to manage its resources like forest cover, wildlife and vegetation. A detailed inventory will lead to a better description of the property, allowing you to make the best decisions for the woodlot and its resources.

  1. Maps

Make sure that your woodlot in Somerset County NJ also has topographical maps and aerial maps so that you can use to survey the area. A good practice is to have 2 maps of your property. The first map should show your woodlot in relation to the surrounding landscape. The next map should show the detailed features of the woodlot. The maps should include property boundaries access roads, fencelines, forest compartment and other natural features of the area. For small properties, you can have all this information in one map.

  1. Review Record of Past Activities

It is also important to know what happened to your Somerset County, NJ woodlot in the past. Woodlot management is a long term term project and assessing past activities will make it easier for you to plan for its future. If the property has no record of past activities, it will be up to you to survey the land as it is today to make the best decisions for its future.

Records of past activities should be updated with your new plans for the area. You should record new inventory, review past objectives if they are still valid, and prepare a new schedule of activities development.

  1. Schedule of Management Activities

Don’t forget to include a schedule of management activities for your woodlot in Somerset County, NJ. This activity plan should help you develop the wood lot on a year to year basis. It should include information like: what’s to be done (make road access, plant new seedlings, etc), who will do it (owner, manager, volunteers), where it will be done (location of the activity), when (season), and how it will be done (equipment, treatment, methods, etc).

Planning and developing a woodlot in Somerset County, NJ is not very complicated once you understand the basics. The plan does not have to be too complex and depends on what the owner wants to do with the property. A well written woodlot plan can be used to track your management activities and save time and money, all  while preventing errors.