Reviewing and Updating A Management Plan

Going through the process of management planning is more important than the actual management plan itself.  In a nutshell, articulating goals and objectives, discovering what you have in your forest, what you want to have, and identifying actions to take to get you there is the benefit of management planning.  When you think about it, there is no end in this type of thinking.  As you implement actions, you might think of new ideas.  Storms, insects and diseases and droughts may unexpectedly change your forest conditions.  Forest product markets are constantly changing. Your personal or family situation may change which may cause you to reassess your goals.  In this sense, forest management planning is a continuous process and the plan document is a living document – more suited for being housed in a 3-ring binder than bound up and put on a shelf for posterity.  Don’t be afraid to write notes in the margins of your plan and paper clip photos of actions being implemented.

It is a good idea to review your plan periodically – especially at the beginning of each year to review and begin activity planning for the actions you have scheduled to take place.  Another time to visit and review your plan is when an action is completed.  This is the time to complete your record keeping, make notes on modifications to the action and make a statement as to your satisfaction with the results with respect to your objectives and goals.  At least once a year, do a thorough read of your plan.  Were there unforeseen events that need to be incorporated in your management unit descriptions or that have affected your goals and objectives?  Are there new market opportunities on the horizon?  Are there planned actions that do not seem as promising compared to a year ago that perhaps could be dropped?  Finally, while many forest management plans have a 10 year planning horizon; it is a good idea to redo the formal planning process every five years – beginning with a re-assessment of your goals and objectives and management unit boundaries and ending with a new schedule of planned actions for the next 5 years.