This is not only for pine plantations... you can thin hardwood stands too (uplands and bottomlands). This will decrease competition and increase volume for your crop trees (or increase the health of the remaining stand). Thinning increases sunlight to the forest floor, in turn increasing wildlife forage by promoting the growth of grasses, forbs and herbaceous plants that were likely shaded out. Removing sickly and diseased trees will increase the forest health of the entire ecosystem of the stand. You WILL receive income from your thinning sale, which can be used to further benefit the property or for other personal reasons. (Markets should be evaluated before moving forward with a timber sale for a thinning, as well as a qualified consultant forester or professional forester IF a thinning is beneficial at this stage and matches your long term goals.)
5. Check for invasive species.
This includes looking for invasive animals AND plants that may be present on your property. Invasive species can be detrimental to the ecosystem AND for your economic returns by misplacing native species. Letting them continue to thrive (if you're aware of them) will only make their removal harder in the future for you (there will be a future article on this and why and how they affect the land). If any are found, be sure to start elimination efforts. Sometimes financial assistance programs can assist with the eradication of invasives (and some even help eradicate the species for free.)
Bonus: Evaluate your estate plans for your land.
Determine what current estate plans you have established for you, your family, and specifically how the land will be handed down to the next generation (or whatever plans you wish to be done with it whether that is to sell and divide the funds, donate to a non-profit or other organization, etc.) Things can consider IF you've never thought about what will happen to your land after your gone...
- Will the land be subdivided among the heirs (if there's more than one)?
- Will the land be given to only one heir (if there's more than one)?
- Should you create a family trust or other legal structure to keep the land within the family?
- Do you prefer to have the land sold and profits divided among family or donate the land to an organization?
- Will ownership be passed on after death or is a living will better?
- Does the property have clear title? Without this, nothing can effectively be done
Owning land is such a blessing. But like most blessings, there is a responsibility associated with it.
Are you responsibly managing your blessing?