Last updated: June 14, 2004


Managing forests on private lands in Alabama and the Southeast



A brief statement indicating the objectives and audience of this book, its function as a companion to the Managing Wildlife volume, how the book was initiated and the process involved in its production.

Chapter 1.    A History of Alabama Forests

Objectives            To present the many changes that have occurred to Alabama forests since 10K BP

Climate changes and their effect on species composition and distribution
The influence of indigenous peoples
The impact and changes brought by European settlers
The timber boom of the late 19th and early 20th century and its aftermath
The rise of the new southern forest
Implications of fragmentation and urbanization

Chapter 2.    Alabama’s Forest Landscape

Objectives            To present and describe the current physical condition of Alabama forests.

A description of generally accepted physiographic regions in Alabama
Major soils types of Alabama and their general characteristics
Alabama climate and topography
Stand characteristics of major Alabama forest types (bottomland and upland hardwoods, mixed pine and hardwood uplands, natural pine stands, plantations, wetlands)
    - Even-aged versus uneven-aged forests - their origins, species, diameter distributions,
       and other key characteristics

Chapter 3. Alabama Forest Ownership and Utilization

Objectives            Indicate the importance of non-industrial forest landowners to the forest
                            landscape, their characteristics, and the markets for their forest products.

Forest ownership in Alabama (including state and federal lands)
Ownership patterns (history of ownership, changes in patterns of ownership, big versus small
    owners, their relative importance, distribution around the state, etc.)
The demographics of non-industrial forest owners (objectives, age, race, gender, etc.)
Characteristics of the Alabama timber harvest (species, products, volumes, location, etc.)
General description of the Alabama forest products industry and its relative importance to the
    state and regional economy.

Chapter 4. Forest Management Fundamentals

Section 1. Developing a Forest Management Plan

Objectives     Provide landowners with a step by step guide to developing a forest
                     management plan. (regeneration to stand management to harvest to
                     regeneration). Focus on having the landowner make decisions on goals
                     and directions for their property.

Steps to writing a management plan
Productivity indicators (stocking and site index)
Mapping your property (property boundary lines, stand compartments, and SMZ’s)
Planning and design of forest roads, trails, and firebreaks
Format for a simple forest management plan
Important tools for developing a forest management plan
Additional forest management plan considerations
Record keeping and evaluation

Section 2. Selection and Utilization of Professional Forestry Assistance

Objectives            A brief chapter describing to NIPF landowners what foresters do, how
                            they are qualified, and the types of foresters or related professionals who
                            comprise the “team” of forest management assistance (from loggers to
                            timber dealers to realtors to surveyors to accountants to attorneys), as well
                            as, an explanation on how to select these professionals.

Practicing forestry (what foresters do)
Forester qualifications and credibility
Forest management “team” of assistance
Selecting professional forestry assistance

Chapter 5. Forest Measurements

Objectives            To familiarize NIPF landowners with the basic concepts of forest and tree
                            measurements to help their communication with professional foresters and
                            understanding of management plans and contracts.

Land measurement, description, and recording
Tree measurements - definitions and techniques
Volume and growth measurement and calculations
The basics of forest inventory
The use of GIS and GPS technology in forest management - utility, procedures, and cost

Chapter 6. Economic and Financial Considerations of Forest Management

Objectives            To present and discuss the fundamental concepts of forest finance and taxation as
                             it relates to practicing non-industrial forest managers and owners so they
                             recognize the complexity of this issue and have enough understanding to seek
                             professional guidance and make financial decisions.

How to evaluate silvicultural activities for return on investment
Taxes; annual income tax, capital gains, estate tax, keeping records, involuntary conversion
Long-term planning; estate planning, conservation easements

Chapter 7. Marketing your Timber

Objectives            Identify, describe and discuss the critical elements of planning, administering, and
                            executing a timber sale for even-aged and uneven-aged management

Planning a timber harvest - necessary inventories, boundary marking, aesthetic considerations
Developing a sale prospectus, comparing selling methods, executing a sale
Merchandizing techniques to maximize returns
Contracts and agreements
Managing your expectations
Monitoring the sale
Resolving problems

Chapter 8. Timber Harvesting

Section 1. Timber Harvesting Fundamentals

Objectives            Describe typical harvesting systems used in forests, the environmental
                            regulations governing timber harvesting and methods landowners may
                            employ to reduce the environmental impact of harvesting

Typical harvest machinery, their function and productivity
State Regulations regarding water quality
The definition and use of Best Management Practices
The installation and management of Streamside Management Zones
Forest road building to minimize environmental impact
Proper stream crossing techniques to minimize environmental impact
Monitoring the harvest

Section 2. Harvest Management in Even and Uneven-Aged Forests

Objectives            To ensure NIPF landowners understand the silvicultural basis for even and
                             uneven-aged pine and hardwood management and the unique aspects of
                             their harvest.

Characteristics of even and uneven-aged forests
Executing a thinning
Maintaining the diameter distribution of uneven-aged forests
Harvest tree selection in even-aged systems
Harvest tree selection in uneven-aged systems
Preferred harvesting equipment and techniques
Salvage Harvesting

Chapter 9. Forest Regeneration

Objectives            To enable NIPF landowners to identify and evaluate regeneration alternatives for
                             their conditions and to know the critical elements of forest regeneration so they
                             might successfully conduct and or supervise those activities.

Identifying and evaluating your regeneration options
Natural versus Artificial methods
Natural regeneration systems
Site preparation
Seedling Quality and Care
Planting and spacing
Hardwood planting
Checking survival
Financial Assistance and Other Partnership Programs

Chapter 10. Restoration of Alabama Forest Types

Objectives            Provide techniques to landowners for returning Alabama landscapes to the
                            floristic cover and ecosystems present at the time of European settlement

Section 1. Native Pine Habitats

Section 2. Bottomland hardwoods

Section 3. Native understory

Chapter 11. Forest Vegetation Management

Objectives            To provide NIPF landowners with sufficient information regarding forest
                            vegetation management so that they can better appreciate their own vegetation
                            control alternatives and monitor the success of operations on their own land.

Evaluating potential competition problems
Comparing and evaluating vegetation management options
Herbicides and their characteristics
Site Preparation
Herbaceous weed control
Timber stand improvement
Drawing up a contract and evaluating an application
Financial Assistance Programs

Chapter 12. Intermediate Stand Treatments

Section 1. The Use of Prescribed Fire

Objectives            Provide justification for the use, the mechanics and methodologies, state
                             regulations, and liability issues related to prescribed burning so that NIPF
                             forest landowners can better understand the importance, cost
                             effectiveness, and the management requirements of prescribed burning in

History of fire use in forest management
The potential benefits of prescribed fire / reasons for burning
Timing of prescribed burning
The fire plan
Planning and installation of firebreaks
Types of burns / burning techniques
Conducting the burn
Smoke management
Burning permits and regulations
Burning contracts
Identifying and managing burn liability
Structural Protection
Selection and utilization of professional assistance

Section 2. Thinning

Objectives            To present and discuss the situations when intermediate stand treatments
                             are economically justified for NIPF landowners and the techniques for
                             their correct employment.

Evaluating a stand for thinning
Thinning systems

Section 3. Forest Fertilization

Objective            To present and discuss the situations when intermediate stand treatments
                           are economically justified for NIPF landowners and the techniques for
                           their correct employment.

Deciding to fertilize / Economic considerations of fertilization
Fertilizers and their application timing over the rotation
Methods of fertilizer application

Section 4. Pruning

Objective            To present and discuss the situations when intermediate stand treatments
                           are economically justified for NIPF landowners and the techniques for
                           their correct employment.

How to conduct a pruning
Evaluation of the return on pruning

Chapter 13. Forest Health

Objective            To provide NIPF landowners with basic principles of forest health, including
                           enough information regarding Alabama forest pests, disease, and environmental
                           and weather related damage to be able to recognize the more important problems
                           in their own forests and evaluate the necessity and methods for their control
                           and/or risk evasion.

The economic impact of disease and insect pests
Pine diseases: fusiform rust, pitch canker, needle cast, littleleaf disease, Fomes, others
Hardwood diseases
Pine insects; bark beetles, Pales weevils, others
Hardwood insects:
Control methods and economic effectiveness
Integrated pest management
Weather and environmental related damage
Risk evasion methods / alternatives

Chapter 14. Exotic and Invasive Plant Management

Objectives            To Provide NIPF landowners with enough information regarding exotic and
                            invasive vegetation to be able to recognize the plants in their own forests and
                            understand the necessity of and methods for their control.

The ecological and economic impact of exotic and invasive plants
Identification Guide to common exotic and invasive plants
Control methods and economic effectiveness
Guide to native plants for rural and urban use (native species for landscaping)

Chapter 15. Managing Forests for Recreational Opportunities

Objectives            Provide landowners with alternatives and methods to increase the enjoyment of
                            their forest for themselves and their family, while presenting various alternatives
                            of recreation-based income and the management of those activities.

Managing forest properties for aesthetics
Establishing and promoting wildflowers
Managing game and non-game wildlife
Viewing and appreciating wildlife
Trail building and maintenance
Working with youth groups and natural resource organizations including landowner
The economic importance of forest-based recreational income to Alabama
Hunting leases and their management
Other recreation-based income possibilities
Road construction and maintenance
Identification and management of liability

Chapter 16. Alternative Enterprises

Objectives            List and describe potentially profitable non-traditional management options
                            for forest lands and provide basic information for their actual implementation.

Pine straw production
Shitake mushrooms and other food products
Woods-grown vegetation for landscaping and restoration efforts
Firewood/lighter wood
Pine cones, greenery, and other forest decorations
Banking threatened and endangered species
Gum/resin production
Carbon Sequestration
Biomass Production

Chapter 17. Laws and Regulations Affecting Forest Management

Objectives            Describe in some detail the types and nature of legal issues unique to forest
                            ownership and the management of those issues.

Alabama forest practices obligations
Trespass liabilities
Landowner responsibilities when contracting forestry activities
           - registration laws for foresters
Damage liability resulting from silvicultural activities
Liability from recreational activities
Threatened and endangered species
Clean Water Act
Private Property Rights

Chapter 18. Forest Certification

Objectives            List and describe in some detail the forest stewardship and certification programs
                            available for forest landowners

Tree Farm
Stewardship programs


A. References and Suggested Reading
B. Book Steering Committee
C. Soil pH Range for Select Southern Tree Species
D. Quick Reference for Timing of Forestry Practices
E. Sample Management Plan
F. Sample Timber Sale Contract
G. Sample Burn Plan
H. Sample Inventory Sheets
I. Sources of Technical and Education Assistance
J. Glossary of Terms