Sometimes landowners just need someone to talk with about their forest. General consulting covers a broad category of services from reviewing a pre-existing forest management plan, to providing expert advice on timber management, to walking with a landowner through the woods and discussing the forest ecology and stewardship options.
A forest assessment provides a summary report of a property’s forests. Field data collected for the assessment provides information on species composition, age class, diameter distribution, growth rates, forest structure, forest health, and wildlife habitat for each stand type on the property. The written assessment includes photographs, a detailed description, and potential management options for each forest stand type. The assessment also includes summary data for the entire property detailing major concerns, highlights, and opportunities.
Forest Inventory and Appraisal
A forest inventory provides a report of typical numerical forestry values (boardfeet, basal area, and trees per acre) by species for different forest stands. The measured components, intensity, and scope of the inventory are variable depending on the landowner’s needs.
A timber appraisal provides the total value of the timber on a given piece of property. This estimate is arrived at through a thorough forest inventory and the use of up to date timber prices. Knowing the full value of timber on a property can assist a landowner in stewardship planning and/or financial planning.
Forest Stewardship Planning
Forest stewardship planning includes a forest assessment, as described above, but incorporates specific landowner objectives with the assessment to define stewardship goals and actions. The plan usually covers a 5 to 10-year time frame. Properties whose stewardship plans include commercial timber management as an objective can also qualify for significant property tax savings through North Carolina’s Present Use Valuation program.
While many landowners have specific financial income needs that sustainable forestry practices may provide for, the strategic harvesting of trees frequently also serves the non-income related objectives of landowners.
For example, many of our forests are even-aged as a result of past clear-cutting. If a landowner desires to restore their even-aged forest to diversity and habitat that simulates old growth conditions, then it is frequently advantageous to mimic natural disturbance patterns that create gaps in the forest. The strategic creation of gaps can favor the growth of more healthy and dominant trees, increase overall botanical diversity, and increase habitat for numerous wildlife species that depend on the structural variability of a forest that has multiple sizes and ages of trees.
During any timber sale, we work on behalf of the interests of the landowner by receiving the highest possible price for the timber while achieving the greatest potential for the landowner’s stewardship objectives. Before any timber harvesting takes place, we mark every tree that is to be removed and establish a harvest plan so that both the logger and the landowner understand the means by which stewardship objectives will be achieved.
EcoForesters has developed relationships with a set of loggers that are both trustworthy and capable when it comes to low-impact logging that protects residual trees, water quality, and other forest resources. Before any management activities take place, we will represent the landowner in establishing a contract that states the terms of payment and how a logger is to engage in stewardship activities (i.e. how trees are to be removed, how trails are to be constructed etc.). Subsequent to this agreement, we will oversee the terms of this contract and withhold a performance bond from the logger until work is satisfactorily completed.
Forest Carbon Evaluation
Forests are important for sequestering atmospheric carbon dioxide, providing a valuable ecosystem service for society and ameliorating climate change. EcoForesters can calculate carbon storage and annual sequestration for your forestland. We also advise clients on current carbon markets and where there are opportunities to profit from your stewardship.