A management plan is a vital component of successful forest or woodland management which allows operations to be undertaken on a strategic, rather than ad hoc basis.
At its most basic, a woodland management plan is a working document, which provides a central point to keep all of the paperwork associated with the management of a woodland, with information about the boundaries, features and woodland character. There are a number of good reasons to produce a woodland management plan:
- Woodland management is a long term commitment. A plan enables an owner to make coherent decisions to manage the woodland to reach their objectives and to pass on information about ongoing management of a woodland to contractors or subsequent owners.
- A management plan allows an owner to provide evidence of compliance with the legal obligations associated with woodland ownership such as obtaining felling licences or management of protected habitat.
- A management plan provides evidence of ongoing activities to support applications for independent certification, it is also a requirement for the payment of a number of Forestry Commission grant schemes.
The Sylva Foundation have an free service for woodland owners called myForest (www.sylva.org.uk/myforest/) which provides on-line resources for management planning, marketing and contact information for foresters, agents and forestry based businesses.