A Well-Managed Forest

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Published on: Mar. 2, 2001

Last revision: Nov. 8, 2010

provide general fish, forest and wildlife assistance, while resource foresters are specialists in the field of forestry. In addition to assisting private landowners, MDC resource foresters also perform state land management duties, wildfire suppression and various other duties which require a good portion of their time. As a result, they have a broad base of experiences that gives them additional insight into your specific situation. Your initial MDC contact can help you decide which forester will best serve your needs. Input from both is often advantageous.

Before you can manage your woodlands, you need to know exactly what they contain. The only way to know is by taking an inventory. Foresters call this, "timber cruising."

Poets wax eloquent about forests, but they rarely cruise timber. At least not in Missouri during the summer. If they did, their poetry might take on a whole different tone. These punitive expeditions into the brush allow foresters to obtain a wealth of information about the number, health, vigor, size and marketability of trees. They will also identify the presence of unique natural resources.

Dedicated foresters claim these forays among the seed ticks and sawbriars are therapeutic. That may be hard to swallow, but one thing is certain: without the information derived from this time-consuming process, sound decisions are hard to make.

Using the data from the inventory, the forester then develops a plan to satisfy your objectives. He or she will then discuss the plan with you to make sure it's what you want and that you understand how it will help you accomplish your goals. If a timber harvest is in order, the forester will mark the trees to be cut. The marking service provides a tree count by species, number, volume and, perhaps, quality of the trees for sale.

Once you're satisfied with the marking, the next step is selling the marked trees. At this point, the remainder of the process is all business, so remember this credo from the Harvard School of Business: "Trust everyone, but cut the cards."

First, send out sealed bids to prospective buyers. The bid should include a map, the amount of trees for sale, method of payment, length of contract and opening date and time. Also include a show date. This will allow you to meet the bidders and review concerns you have about fields, roads, damage to remaining trees and aesthetics. It is a good chance for you to learn what

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