UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS EXTENSION

Forest Planning

Forest Planning Photograph

Approximately 82 percent of Illinois forests are owned by private individuals, including farmers, residents, and absentee landowners. Combine this information with the fact that approximately 61 percent of the native flora, 82 percent of the mammals, 62 percent of the birds, and 79 percent of the amphibians and reptiles require forested habitat for a portion of their life cycles, it is no wonder that responsible forest management and planning is essential to the productivity, health, growth, development, and vitality of our forests, economy, and general way of life.

Fact: Less than 10 percent of Illinois forest landowners have a written management plan on file with the Department of Natural Resources, yet they own 82 percent of the forestland in Illinois. Furthermore, less than five percent of forest landowners sell their timber without the assistance of a professional forester (IDNR 2006).

The key to any successful forestry program is a formalized, written forest management plan. A forest management plan is a document prepared by a forester or qualified natural resource specialist to guide and direct the use and management of your property. The plan should describe your goals and objectives, along with the current conditions of the property, and culminate with a detailed, chronological outline of management activities prescribed by your forester to efficiently guide you to a rewarding stewardship experience. Your management plan should include the following information: (1) detailed aerial photograph, soils map, and property description, (2) goals and objectives at the forest and stand level, (3) forest inventory data and stand descriptions, (4) timber harvest schedule and (5) detailed management activity schedule and timeline. Most state and federal forestry assistance programs require a management plan for participation.

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