What advice can you offer to women who have little experience managing a forest? Let’s say they have inherited the land and were not active in past management decisions.
First, ladies, those trees did not grow overnight so your decisions do not need to be made overnight. Take some time to do the necessary research so you can make informed decisions.
If you have inherited the property you will need to know the tax implications, check on that.
The next thing, you need to think about are your goals and objectives for owning the timberland. You need to be honest with your self. Your goal may be to generate periodic income, manage for wildlife, recreation, or aesthetics. The answer will be different for everyone, and it may change with time. Defining your goals will help you care for your land.
You also need to ask yourself: How involved do you want to be in managing your land? You can choose any level of involvement depending upon the amount of time you want to commit. You could prepare contract yourself to sell your timber or plant trees, or you could hire a professional forestry consultant to help you with your management. Perhaps you will even decide to sell the land. What ever path you take, you will need good information about your land and you need to know its value.
Where can someone go to get help or information?
The best part of my job is sharing information about forests. There’s lots of help out there but your first stop should be to contact your State Forestry Department. They generally have a forester on staff that provides information and education to private landowners. Their advice is free, unbiased, and based on your goals and objectives. We can head you in the right direction and can provide a list of Forestry consultants working in your area.
Let’s say you are approached by an individual that indicates you need to cut your timber quickly or they can help take it off your hands set amount of money, it should be a red flag. Check with your state land department first.
There are lots of other great resources and I will provide links to their webs sites; County or University Extension offices; Forest Landowner Associations; American Tree Farm; USFS state and private forestry; or State Foresters.
So you recommend women think about their goals and objectives; the level of involvement or time they can commit; and to seek help from state foresters. Is there any thing else?
Get connected with other forest landowners, attend education workshops, and take classes. One thing about this business is that in the past it has been heavily dominated by men, and some of that may be because it is associated with big toys, or machinery. When it comes to the ecology, science, or business aspect we need to know the same things that men need to know to make decisions regarding our forests.
Women are wonderful caretakers which make us perfect when it comes to caring for the forest too. I encourage you to the gain knowledge to help you manage your land or to be a better client.
Association of Consulting Foresters
National Association of State Foresters
US Forest Service State and Private Forestry
American Tree Farm System
National Woodland Owners Association