Forest Ownership in A-Z Fashion

By Rick A. Lucas CF

Photo courtesy of Rick Lucas. White pine, our State tree, played a major role in writing Michigan’s forest history. It is still a very prominent fixture within the Muskegon River Watershed.

CD Forester

  1. Avoid many mistakes with the management of your forest by seeking professional assistance before engaging in management activities on your property.
  2. Beauty may very well be in the eyes of the beholder….but I have never witnessed a fall color show that has been anything short of brilliant.
  3. Carefully consider all options for your property. Options are choices/selections that should be a part of every conversation about the management of your forest land.
  4. Determine the goals and objectives for your property before you do anything else with your property. Why do you own your property? How do you intend to use the property? What are your expectations?
  5. Enjoy what you have as a private forest owner- that’s important too!
  6. Firewood and the act of preparing it, may very well be one of my favorite forest activities. Just please be more mindful of when you prepare it and where you move it! Moving firewood around, especially longer distances, is not as harmless as it used to be. It is now recognized as one of the most common ways to spread exotic forest-damaging insects and diseases.
  7. G. Good forest management accomplishes many things. Two of the more important are: it creates the ideal conditions to naturally regenerate the forest; and it leaves behind a better quality forest than what existed prior to a harvest.
  8. Healthy forests have very little to nothing to do with letting nature take its course. Many a well-intentioned forest owner has fallen trap to the notion that nature “knows” best. There are many parallels to doing nothing in your garden that given time, exhibit the same result in your forest.
  9. Informed forest owners make the best decisions for their property.
  10. Join an organization that represents your interests. Like MRWA!
  11. Keep good records of the activities completed on your property; it will serve you well throughout your ownership and the others that follow.
  12. Learn something new every day about natural resource management…now that’s leaving a Legacy.
  13. Mis-managed and unmanaged forests have a tendency to be less diverse in species composition which in turn makes a site more susceptible to insects, diseases and plant invasives. Lack of management often leads to forest changes the owner did not intend.
  14. Non-industrial private forest (NIPF) lands are the least intensively managed ownership category in Michigan. The NIPF category includes you and I. Collectively, we own more than 50% of the forest land found in Michigan. In my opinion, for the forests of Michigan to remain healthy, productive and sustainable, the NIPF owners will likely need to play a more active role.
  15. Opportunity- there is more opportunity just waiting to happen on private forests than any other ownership category. Owning forest land is exciting. It also comes with a great deal of responsibility. What we don’t do with these opportunities, can be just as important as what we do.
  16. Potential- Think of it this way: If you look at an acorn or a tadpole, do you see what’s in front of you, or do you see the potential for an oak tree or a frog? Potential for your forest is most easily achievable by planning with an eye to the future.
  17. Quiet never sounded so good, as it does in my favorite forested spot in Gogebic County! Do you have a favorite spot in the forest?
  18. Respect the land, you’re only using it for a short while.
  19. Some people can live without seeing wildlife everyday….I’m just not one of them.
  20. Take the time to introduce a youngster to all the great things the forest has to offer. There’s no better way to pay it forward!
  21. Urban sprawl, growth, splatter, highest/best use, are all names currently used to describe this phenomenon that may very well be the number one threat to our private lands in general. Whatever you choose to call it, the fact remains, as more and more people purchase their own piece of property, whether it’s farmland or forest, the landscape is becoming more and more fragmented and ownership increasingly parcelized.
  22. Valuable- forests are a valuable part of our economy and lifestyle. Managing them well will best guarantee the continued health and productivity of our forests.
  23. Work with service providers with the management of your forest that have your best interests in mind.
  24. Xylem up; phloem down. Worked for me in college.
  25. Your forest will hopefully be here long after you are gone. While you can certainly undertake forest management by yourself, you could also represent yourself in court, make your own medical diagnosis, or manage your own portfolio. I highly recommend getting professional guidance with your forests. Selecting a professional forester will increase the benefits you receive from your forest.
  26. Zero. The chance I have of fulfilling my childhood dream of playing centerfield for the Detroit Tigers. But, I’m o.k. with that!