A careful inventory is the first step in developing and implementing a forest management plan. In late January, 2015, Tyler Mousley visited a client’s small property in Cabot, VT to carry out an inventory. As he traversed the property, Tyler kept the client’s primary interests in mind: growing timber in the forest while harvesting firewood for personal use and maintaining and increasing the value of habitat.
The weather the day Tyler visited was excellent, with cold temperatures and clear sunny skies. Abundant wildlife sign showed evidence of snowshoe hare, whitetail deer, and ruffed grouse in numerous places on the property.
Claw marks on this apple tree suggest that a black bear had visited the property for a fall snack. Bear often feast on apples, cherries, blackberries, raspberries, and other fruits (called “soft mast”) in preparation for a long winter’s hibernation. They also look for for “hard mast,” which in Vermont includes beech nuts, acorns, hazelnuts, and a variety of smaller tree seeds. The calories taken on board in the fall and converted into fat keep bears alive through the winter.
After the inventory is done, Tyler will prepare a forest management plan that reflects the owner’s objectives and is informed by Tyler’s knowledge of the forest, the timber resources, and the wildlife habitat that exists there. Depending upon his finding, Tyler might suggest that the landowner implement crop tree release and habitat enhancement. Maintaining current use enrollment is also a primary landowner goal. Tyler’s new management plan will ensure this enrollment for the next ten years.