Private landowners are entrusted with the care and responsibility for a large percentage of forestland in the Eastern United States. With ownership rights, a landowner is given a wide range of choices. Should I develop my land? Should I cut those old trees up the hill?
Sometimes, property or income taxes determine land management decisions. In other cases, a regular stream of income is needed. In most cases, though, decisions are not cut-and-dry. Landowners care for their land, their family, their community, and perhaps the global ecosystem these days. Decisions involve multiple values and needs.
This is where forest landowners can become stewards. North Carolina and other states have Forest Stewardship Programs that can help with technical support and cost share. The cost share program helps to fund the development of Forest Stewardship Plans for landowners.
On November 30, Lloyd Raleigh attended the Forest Stewardship Plan Writers Training at the Yancey County Cooperative Extension Service. Les Hunter, the Forest Stewardship Plan Coordinator led the training, which is required for plan writers in North Carolina.
Once the plan is written and approved, a landowner can implement the plan and apply for Stewardship Forest Certification. This certification is a significant accomplishment for a forest landowner, showing that the landowner has enhanced their property for wildlife, timber, soil, water, and more.