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A Well-Managed Forest

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Published on: Mar. 2, 2001

Last revision: Nov. 8, 2010

a logger can reasonably be expected to accomplish.

Once you select a buyer, you'll need to draft a contract. The contract will specify all of the buyer's responsibilities and will address such issues as soil erosion, trash and damage to fences. It will also specify your obligations to the buyer. Further, the contract makes both you and the buyer legally accountable for upholding the agreement. A good contract leaves nothing to chance. The forester will have copies of several different types of contracts.

To help loggers conduct responsible logging operations, the Missouri Forest Products Association (MFPA) sponsors logger supervisor training. Those who have taken this training have made a commitment to harvesting in an environmentally friendly and safe manner. A list of these firms is available from the MFPA or the forester.

There are several ways to cut down trees and drag them out of the woods. You can use a crosscut saw and a mule, or you can use an ax and a horse. Tractors, log skidders, hydro-axes, trucks and chainsaws are also available. The methods are not as important as your harvest plan, so make sure you discuss your plan thoroughly with your buyer and harvesting crew.

Visit the site often during the harvest operation. Most loggers are proud of the hard work they do, so you can generate a lot of good will by showing the logger you are interested in what they do. This also reminds the logger that you are concerned about your forest.

Once the harvest is complete, walk the site with the buyer. This is a good time to make sure all the contract agreements are satisfied.

With the harvest complete, the real work now begins. As a concerned landowner, you'll want to direct some of the harvest profits back into your forest. Included in your management plan are practices such as timber stand improvement, seeding log decks for wildlife, and erosion control measures. Cost-share funds are available for some of these projects. The PLC or resource forester can provide assistance and information on programs that are available to you. These practices are crucial to the long-term health of your forest.

It takes a long time to grow an oak tree in Missouri. Therefore, it's important to take the time to properly manage and care for your forest. The long-term rewards you receive from your foresight will far outweigh your efforts. The condition of our land is our legacy for tomorrow, so plan carefully for the future of your forest.

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