Green Timber Consulting Foresters, Inc.
11521 DesRochers Road
Pelkie, Michigan 49958

    office: 906.353.8584
     mobile: 906.281.4832
    info@greentimberforestry.com

 

Forest Management Planning

A forest management plan serves as a blueprint for landowners. A management plan clearly states your goals and objectives and describes the current condition of the forest and related natural resources on your property. The level of detail included in a management plan is dependent upon your needs. A management plan can be as simple as a map and a few pages detailing recommended harvests or a complex document describing forest, soil, water and wildlife resources, property history and management recommendations with explanations of the theory behind the management. Your goals and objectives are considered in developing management recommendations tailored to the unique conditions found on your property. Management plans are an excellent resource for all who make use of your property; they are also beneficial as an organizational tool and can qualify you for cost sharing programs and property tax reductions. Get started on a management plan for your property by contacting Green Timber Consulting Foresters today; we will initiate the process by asking you some questions about your needs, goals and objectives then we will prepare a free estimate of the costs to develop a plan tailored to your property.

WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS FOR A FOREST MANAGEMENT PLAN?

There are numerous management plan options and incentives that landowners may be interested in:

We can also tailor a management plan to meet your needs outside of the requirements of these programs.

Forest Stewardship Plan

Part of the cost of a Forest Stewardship Plan (FSP) is paid by the USDA Forest Service through a program administered by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The Forest Stewardship Program was developed to promote education of private landowners as well as sustainable management of non-industrial private forestlands.

What are the qualifications?

All non-industrial private landowners are eligible to have an FSP written for their property, however government funding is only available for owners of at least 20 acres.

What is the cost of a Forest Stewardship Plan?

An FSP can vary in detail; more detailed plans will come at a higher price. Additionally, the larger your property is, the more you can expect to pay. We can prepare a proposal for your unique project at no cost to you. The current funding rate for an FSP is a fixed amount of $225 per plan plus a variable rate of $0.50 per acre; for instance a plan for a 40 acre property would be eligible for $245 of government funding. Funding is paid directly to the plan writer, however your invoice will reflect a discount in the amount of the funding.

How closely is the landowner required to follow the plan?

If you simply elect to have an FSP prepared for your property, but do not enroll in a property tax program such as Qualified Forest or Commercial Forest, you have no obligation to implement any of the recommendations set forth in your plan.

Are there any property tax incentives associated with this program?

There are no direct tax incentives for participating in the Forest Stewardship Program, however the requirements of an FSP often exceed the management plan requirements of the Michigan property tax incentive programs such as Commercial Forest and Qualified Forest. Forest Stewardship Plans can also make you eligible for cost-sharing from the NRCS for tree planting and other projects. If you are interested in either of these programs we can adjust your plan to meet the requirements.

Click here for more on the Forest Stewardship Program

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Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) "CAP 106" Plan

The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) also has a program to fund forest management plans on private lands. Cost share money is available to offset the cost of hiring a forester to write the management plan. Once your plan is completed, you are qualified to apply for funding to conduct other projects on your property.

What are the qualifications?

This program is available to landowners with property that is considered productive forestland. The forester writing the plan must have completed training to be a Technical Service Provider (TSP); Green Timber Consulting Foresters has a certified NRCS TSP on staff. Landowners must first contact the NRCS directly to initiate the process. Click here to find contact information for NRCS Staff in your county.

What is the cost of a NRCS Plan?

The cost of a plan varies depending on acreage and desired detail of the plan. We can prepare a proposal for your unique project at no cost to you. The NRCS allocates funds on a tiered system depending on the acreage of the property; this amount changes with each federal government budget cycle. For the 2016 fiscal year, forest management plans are eligible for the following cost share amounts:

Acres Cost Share Amount
20 or Less $1,065.90
21-100 $1,346.40
101-250 $2,412.30
251-500 $3,478.20
501-1000 $4,039.20
1001 or Larger $5,049.00

When your plan is completed, you pay the plan writer in full for the cost of the plan which you have agreed upon. After the NRCS reviews and approves your plan, they will reimburse you the proper amount based on the size of your ownership.

How closely is the landowner required to follow the plan?

When you have met the requirements of applying to the program and your plan is approved by NRCS staff, you will receive your cost-share reimbursement. There are no other obligations unless you choose to pursue funding for specific projects.

Are there any property tax incentives associated with this program?

There are no direct tax incentives associated with NRCS plans, however the requirements of an NRCS Forest Management Plan often exceed the management plan requirements of the Michigan property tax incentive programs such as Commercial Forest and Qualified Forest. If you are interested in either of these programs we can adjust your plan to meet the requirements.

What other funding programs are available through NRCS?

Landowners can use an approved NRCS plan to qualify for funding for tree planting and other activities. Programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Programs (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) are compatible with an NRCS management plan when conservation practices are recommended for each stand.

Click here for more information about NRCS forest management plans.

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Commercial Forest Management Plans

The Commercial Forest Act (often referred to as CFA, CFR or CF) is a property tax incentive option that requires enrolled properties to be actively managed for sustainable production of commercial timber products. The State of Michigan offers this incentive in order to promote forest management which can benefit rural economies. The public access requirement also supplements the availability of land for hunting, trapping and fishing.

What are the qualifications?

The CF program is open to landowners with 40 or more contiguous acres of productive and accessible forestland. The landowner must also own the rights to harvest the timber on the property. Lands enrolled in the Commercial Forest program must be open to public, non-motorized access for hunting, fishing and trapping; no other public uses are required. Commercial activity other than forest management (including Christmas tree farms, commercial maple syrup production and grazing) is not permitted on CF land. Structures (including permanent deer blinds) are not allowed on CF lands even if they belong to the property owner, however the landowner retains the right to all other activities on the property. There are special stipulations regarding mineral exploration and wind turbine leases. Enrolled acres must have an up-to-date forest management plan which is approved by the Michigan DNR; the landowner is required to follow timber harvesting recommendations in the plan.

What is the cost of a Commercial Forest Plan?

The cost of a Commercial Forest Plan varies depending on acreage and desired detail of the plan. We can prepare a proposal for your unique project at no cost to you. There are no cost-sharing incentives for a simple Commercial Forest Management Plan however you can choose to participate in the Forest Stewardship Program or the NRCS CAP 106 Program as these plans exceed the requirements for CF in most cases.

How closely is the landowner required to follow the plan?

The landowner must follow all timber harvesting recommendations set forth in the plan. Failure to do so can result in removal from the program which carries a hefty cost. Landowners must also file a cutting notice with the Michigan DNR prior to the start of any timber harvesting. Other recommendations such as wildlife habitat improvements are not mandatory.

Are there any property tax incentives associated with this program?

The annual property tax for enrolled lands is $1.25 per acre. This rate is increased by five cents per acre every five years with the next increase set to take place on January 1, 2017.

Click here for more on the Commercial Forest Program

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Qualified Forest Management Plan

The Qualified Forest Program (QFP) is a property tax incentive option similar to CF in that it requires enrolled properties to be actively managed for sustainable production of commercial timber products. The State of Michigan offers this incentive in order to promote forest management which can benefit rural economies. Unlike CF, public access is not required on QFP lands; subsequently the property tax reduction is not as significant.

What are the qualifications?

The QFP is open to landowners with 20-39 contiguous acres (at least 80% productive forestland), or 40 to 640 acres (at least 50% productive forestland). Landowners can have more than 640 acres enrolled in QFP however 640 acres is the maximum per tax collecting unit (political township in most cases). The landowner must have an up-to-date forest management plan which meets the program requirements and has been approved by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Landowners must also own the timber rights on their property. Structures are allowed on Qualified Forest lands however the land underneath any structures is ineligible for the property tax incentives. Owners of QFP lands are not required to allow public access for any purposes. Commercial uses which interfere with forest management are not allowed on QFP lands. Landowners are required to follow their forest management plan however they retain all other private property rights.

What is the cost of a Qualified Forest Management Plan?

The cost of a QFP Management Plan varies depending on acreage and desired detail of the plan. We can prepare a proposal for your unique project at no cost to you. There are no cost-sharing incentives for a simple QFP Management Plan however in most cases a Forest Stewardship Plan or NRCS CAP 106 Plan will exceed the QFP requirements.

How closely is the landowner required to follow the plan?

You must implement all timber harvesting recommended in the plan. Landowners are also required to submit an annual report summarizing timber production on their Qualified Forest Land. Failure to implement the recommended harvests can result in removal from the program which carries substantial financial penalties, dependent on the length of time the property has been in the program and the value in dollars of the exemption. Other recommendations in the management plan such as wildlife habitat improvements are not required.

Are there any property tax incentives associated with this program?

Owners of QFP lands enjoy a net property tax reduction of 16 mils; the total property tax is still dependent on the taxable value of the property. When the owner of QFP land decides to sell property, the buyer has the option of executing a Taxable Value Affidavit. This keeps the property taxes "capped" at the previous rate. This may be a major selling point in the future as land values continue to rise. Your property tax bill could still change if your county or township levies an additional tax to fund certain projects.

Click here for more information about the Qualified Forest Program

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American Tree Farm System (ATFS) Forest Management Plan

The American Tree Farm System (ATFS) provides an effective way for non-industrial forestland owners to gain third-party certification on their land. A key requirement of certification under the ATFS Standards is to have and follow an up-to-date forest management plan. Plans written with funding from the Forest Stewardship Program and the NRCS CAP 106 Program meet the requirements of the ATFS.

What are the qualifications?

All non-industrial private landowners of timberland ranging from 10 to 20,000 acres are eligible to participate in the Green Timber Tree Farm Group (GTTFG). At this time, the GTTFG is limited to lands in Michigan's Upper Peninsula or the Wisconsin Counties of Marinette, Florence, Forest, Vilas and Iron.

What is the cost of an ATFS Forest Management Plan?

An ATFS Forest Management Plan can vary in detail; more detailed plans will come at a higher price. Additionally, the larger your property is, the more you can expect to pay. Plans prepared with funding from the Forest Stewardship Program or the NRCS are eligible to meet the ATFS requirements. Membership Dues for the Green Timber Tree Farm Group are $50 per landowner per year. Green Timber Consulting Foresters can provide you with a free estimate of the cost to develop a plan for your unique property and objectives.

How closely is the landowner required to follow the plan?

Your plan and any management activities must comply with the most current ATFS Standards. If you are found to be out of compliance, you are typically given an opportunity to take corrective actions. Failure to properly implement corrective actions can lead to removal from the Green Timber Tree Farm Group and the national ATFS.

Are there any property tax incentives associated with this program?

There are no direct incentives for certification under ATFS however an ATFS Forest Management Plan meets the requirements for the Qualified Forest Program and the Commercial Forest Act if you choose to enroll in either program.

Click here for more on the ATFS

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What information is included in a Forest Management Plan?

The topics covered in a forest management plan, as well as the level of detail, are dependent on your goals, objectives and interests. Each financial incentive program has its own specific requirements, however a typical forest management plan will address the topics listed below. When you meet with a Green Timber forester, we will identify the areas which are particularly important to you, or which are required for participation in the various programs described on this page.

  • Cover Page including your name and contact information, legal description of the property and contact information for the plan writer.
  • Landowner Objectives and Goals.
  • Current Property Conditions and a brief statement of Desired Future Conditions.
  • Description of the Property and How it Fits Into the Surrounding Landscape.
  • Timber Harvest History and Other Property History which may consist of a report of previous harvest acreage and volume, or may be as simple as an estimate of the year of the most recent harvest, depending on your access to this information.
  • Identification of Resource Concerns, including but not limited to timber quality and productivity concerns, and areas at high risk for soil erosion.
  • Description of Wildlife Resources and Habitat Management Recommendations
    • Food Plots
    • Habitat Tree Retention and Creation
    • Timber Harvest Strategies to Benefit Specific Species
  • Identification of Threatened and Endangered Plant and Animal Species which may make use of the property, and recommendations to help conserve those species.
  • Detailed Soil Descriptions and narratives regarding how the soils found on your property impact the tree species found there, their growth and quality, and timber harvesting recommendations.
  • Description of the Roads and Trails on your Property and recommendations to keep them in a condition that permits sustained use of the property in accordance with your objectives.
  • Descriptions of Each Unique Stand on your Property in order to tailor forest management to the unique conditions found in specific areas of the property. Stands are identified based on species composition, age, stocking level and size class.
  • Forest Management Recommendations for each stand including but not limited to:
    • Timber Harvests
    • Timber Stand Improvement (TSI, a non-commercial treatment to improve future quality)
    • Tree Planting
  • Conservation Practice Recommendations including but not limited to:
    • Tree and Shrub Planting
    • Forest Stand Improvement
    • Upland Wildlife Habitat Management
    • Closure of Unused Roads and Trails
  • Detailed Maps depicting the following:
    • Approximate Locations of Property Boundaries
    • Forest Stand Boundaries
    • Streams and Lakes
    • Roads and Trails
    • Soil Types
    • Special Sites including camps, unique areas and archaeological sites (where known)
  • Summary Table of Management Practices for Each Stand and Recommended Dates
  • Inventory Report and Financial Projections if you require a detailed forest inventory, we can design a project to meet your needs and consider current market conditions to develop an estimate of future revenue.
  • Appendix consisting of selected literature and other documentation as an informational resource to the landowners

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