I recently contracted with Forest Stewards to provide me with a Forest Management Plan for my family’s North Carolina property. It is the second such Plan commissioned for my family in the last 16 years.
The first Plan, delivered by another Forester to my father in 2002, consisted of four pages. It contained several errors, including a hand-drawn map that did not correspond to the property’s actual layout. After reviewing it recently, I decided that a higher level of professionalism was needed, and I made it a point to carefully research potential candidates. I chose Forestry Stewards, and I was delighted with the results.
First, they responded to my inquiry immediately. (This was important because I had a tax-related deadline by which the study needed to be completed and delivered to the State. While a 6-8 week timeframe isn’t truly a crisis situation, it left little time for delay, especially since I desired a quality job.) I spoke with multiple staff members who asked clear, pertinent and perceptive questions about the property and my objectives and priorities. They volunteered insights which I, as an absentee owner, found to be very helpful. They answered all of my questions. After I committed to employ them, a team of North Carolina-state-registered Foresters was quickly assigned (including one with a PhD), and they commenced work immediately.
Second, they continued to communicate very well. They followed up with me again after their first visit to the property. They asked a few more questions based on their initial observations, and they incorporated my answers into their subsequent work. There was no further action required of me until the Plan was delivered.
Third, their work was very thorough, requiring 14 pages. The following quotes from the Plan are typical:
- “The 33 – acre property encompasses a total of 350 ’ of elevation change with a low of 3850’ above sea level at its northeast corner and a high of 4200’ on top…”
- “The soils on the property are deep and well drained with Plott soils covering the eastern slopes of the property and Edneyville soils covering the ridgetop and most of the western side. Both soils can support good tree growth with the abundant precipitation that is common in this area. The Plott soils are more productive with an average site index of 85’ for northern red oak and 113’ for yellow poplar while the Edneyville soils average a site index of 80’ for northern red oak and 98’ for yellow poplar.”
- “Overall access to property is good … That said, a band of very steep slopes with soils that are shallow to rock would make access very difficult to the most productive hardwood sites which are located on the lower slopes on the eastern side.”
- “While invasive exotic plant species are a serious threat to the integrity of many forests in our region, few invasive plants were noted on this property with the exception of a patch of English Ivy found along the road at the entry to the property.”
The Plan delivered by Forest Stewards included color photographs illustrating different forest “zones” on the property, along with two aerial photograph-based maps. These maps, in my estimation, were quite accurate. There was also a very helpful spreadsheet provided, which broke out individual zones with recommendations tailored for each, including timeframes. In addition to the subjects above the Plan also covered topography, harvesting recommendations, economic considerations and more. It was clear, comprehensive, concise and well-written. After receiving the Plan, they also provided me with contact information for unaffiliated Foresters who they believed could properly represent me in overseeing work per their recommendations.
I have complete confidence in the Forest Stewards Plan and in its recommendations, and I will be acting on them in 2018 and beyond. I believe the cost of this Plan was more than justified by the quality of their work. I would recommend Forest Stewards to anyone who wishes to receive quality advice that carefully balances economic priorities with aesthetic and ecological considerations.John Clearman
As a forestry graduate myself, who has enjoyed a long career in the recycling side of the forest products industry, I’m a firm believer in natural resource education with a strong emphasis on gaining practical experience in the woods. I’ve utilized the Western Carolina University based Forest Stewards to conduct forest stand assessments and to develop forest management plans in the past, and I’m currently contracting them in an effort to develop an economically sensible approach to release desirable timber regeneration in a previously high-graded mountain hardwood forest that I own.
I’m impressed by Forest Stewards’ attention to detail in conducting baseline measurement of stand conditions before conducting treatments in the woods which allows us to monitor whether the investments we make in our forest are truly having the impacts we seek. I also support the Forest Stewards model in which experienced professional foresters work with student interns to expand the amount of field work that gets done on the ground while giving college interns hands on opportunities to learn forestry techniques in th e field underpinned by the collection and analysis of data from the treatments being applied.Tim Campbell
Forest Stewards helped our family complete an timber sale by conducting a pre-harvest timber inventory, laying out the timber harvest areas, recruiting a competent logger and helping us with the legal aspects of the sale. We appreciate that Forest Stewards also helped us to update our forest management plan in a manner that reflects the values we have for our land.
We were pleased that our forest management needs were met in a way that also enabled college students to get valuable hands-on experience in the woods. We were very satisfied by the services courteously provided by Forest Stewards, and we would strongly recommend this organization to other landowners in need of forestry support.Henry Durham
Forest Stewards wrote my forest stewardship plan which was accepted by the Henderson County tax office. The major part of the plan called for timber harvesting. I hired Forest Stewards to handle the entire process required for the logging operations. Forest Stewards interviewed loggers to find the one that would provide me the best financial return on the timber sale. They handled everything in the best possible manner by constantly monitoring the loggers and by working closely with the Forest Service to ensure that all state and federal regulations were being met.
\Not only did Forest Stewards do an excellent management job, but they kept me informed of all progress and developments. Their services were excellent and I have no hesitation in recommending them, not only for overseeing any logging operations but preparing the very best forestry management program for personal property.Joe Bailey