Carefully compile your plans to cut through complex world of woodland
Forestry isn't rocket science ... it's much more complicated -- so said Fred Bunnell, the now semi-retired professor of forestry at the University of British Columbia, Canada.
Think about that statement for a moment. Rocket science is comprehensible, to rocket scientists at least. By contrast, the complex eco-systems that the forests of the world provide for two thirds of all known species of plant and animal, and their interaction, let alone mankind's intervention with those eco-systems, are barely understood. Add to that the forests' impact on climate regulation and carbon storage, not to mention their social, cultural and economic importance, and we have quite a heady mix. Professor Bunnell has a point.
Without wishing to alarm anyone, the point I'm making here is that we all have a responsibility to ensure that we manage our forests both to the best of our ability and as carefully as possible.
Management planning, and a well-documented management plan, are an important part of this. Moreover, a comprehensive and well-conceived plan is an essential component of the certification process, especially bearing in mind that it is not the forest that is certified, but rather the system of management applied to that forest.
A good management plan should set out the owner's objectives, a road map showing how those objectives are to be realised, and incorporate records of work completed, forest heath, sales of timber, and of non-timber products where relevant, and so forth.
Ideally, the plan should be comprehensive and clear enough to allow for a seamless transition to a new owner or manager in the event of the change.
On the assumption that many readers will be considering certification in the foreseeable future, I suggest that they start work on preparing management plans for their woodlands that will meet the requirements of a certification audit.