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Land Goals: Picking the Family Pet

beginners management Feb 01, 2019

Your land.

 Maybe you never gave it much thought past that statement. A Simple statement of acknowledgement of “Yes, I/we have land.” But today is the day you are going to have more to say and start taking ownership of your land!

You are now going to consider the “why” factor – WHY do I have my land? What is my goal or objective for my land? This is probably the most critical question you can answer before you should do anything else. You’re probably looking at this one of two ways: easy-peasy or dauntingly. Let me say this – deciding what your goal – your objective – your purpose – for your land, should be thought out carefully and fully.

So first off… what does a land objective really mean? Your land objective (sometimes referred to as goals) are what you are wanting your land for short and long-term. For example land objectives can vary from wildlife hunting, wildlife viewing, revenue for retirement or college savings, aesthetics (a beautiful piece of land to enjoy just for existing), etc. Many times most landowners have various objectives… but for simplicity sake we are going to refer here on out as objectives individually.

Deciding what your land objectives are, is similar to choosing a family pet.

Each pet you consider for your family has various needs and responsibilities, but also as important, various life expectancy’s. Understanding the needs and responsibilities of what you’re going to take on is self-explanatory: you need to know how much work that pet (
that objective) is before you agree it’s a good fit or you. But JUST AS important is to know and understand how long you will have those responsibilities. The life expectancy of your pet is like understanding your chosen rotation age. (Rotation age is the length of time from when you begin your activities and planting, to when you expect to reap the benefits (usually a final harvest), and then ideally you would reset and start over.)

Like most family pets, you are looking at YEARS worth of investment – not weeks or months – but YEARS. That is why it is very important to not simply jump into something without doing your research if it is the right for you, your circumstance, and your vision. Just because Tina down the road recently got a cute Pomeranian-Yorkie puppy, doesn’t mean YOU should have one too.

So let’s take a look at the family pet options we will consider within this article:

  • Dogs
  • Barn Cat
  • African Grey Parrot
  • Pet Rock

**Disclaimer: We are going to broadly cover the stereotypes of the above family pets and how they correlate to various land management objectives and goals. Like each pet, each goal is unique to you and may vary considerably, even within a lumped category**




Everyone loves them – the most common family-picked pet.

Their needs: exercise daily, outdoors to “do business”, food and water daily or multiple times a day, and regular interaction/play time.
Life expectancy: ranging from 8 to 15 years (size and species dependent)

The dog is like your traditional pine rotation – revenue generating objective. To maximize this objective you need to regularly manage your property, to which will allow your pines to thrive and thus produce for you the most income possible. You can also likely go through two or three rotations (final harvests) within your own lifetime. You’re likely to live out two or four dogs in your life – you can likely have two to four money-producing harvests. Just don’t forget the regular maintenance they require….


The Barn Cat

You want a useful family pet that doesn’t necessarily have a lot of needs.

Their needs: shelter, food (sometimes if they perform too well on the mice front).
Life expectancy: ranging from 8 to 20 years.

Like a dog, the barn cat does have a moderate life expectancy where you can get a couple of rotations in – BUT with a LOT LESS of the expected responsibilities. The barn cat is for the more passive landowner who wants to generate income, interact with their property when it is convenient, but not have the list of expectations annually to complete. Your trees will do “just fine” without the constant attention. You must acknowledge that you will not maximize your money potential, but they are still growing and will produce a decent revenue at the harvests.

The African Grey Parrot

This pet is not for the faint of heart.

Their needs: space (lots of space), food and water and LOTS of DAILY attention.
Life expectancy: 40 to 80 years (average of 50 to 60).

Clearly you are thinking for the long-haul if you are considering an African Grey. The African Grey parrot is like a longleaf pine-savannah, wildlife enhancements objective. This is one goal that is more of the heart than of the wallet. This WILL take REGULAR and CONSTANT maintenance. Also when you get an African Grey, your likely only getting one within your lifetime. It will likely take the majority of your life before you reach the picture-book Longleaf Savannah look in your mind, and you’re likely not to harvest once you reach this picture because you utilize your land for its other benefits of wildlife viewing, hunting, as well as the aesthetics.

The Pet Rock

Finally… there’s the pet rock.

Their needs: none.
Life expectancy: 0 to 100 years (depends if you lost it the next day or keep it in your special box in your closet).

The pet rock is for the one that “wants something” without the constant obligations. You’re likely to lose it next week or keep it forever in your hidden treasure box in the closet (or something in between). This pet is just like the objective to just “let the land be natural”. You don’t want to actually have any committed maintenance or management, and only acknowledge it when it is convenient. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with this philosophy (we'll talk about hazards of forest health later), but just acknowledge THAT you have a pet rock and don’t be surprised when it doesn’t produce anything of substantial value for you later.


Now that we’ve covered four family pet – land objectives – stereotypes, it’s time for you to sit down and consider what pet is right for YOU! One of the above goals might have been screaming at you as exactly what you want, or maybe none of them felt “right”… That’s okay! Like how every pet is unique and individualized (yes, even the pet rocks), so are land objectives and goals.
So sit down. Think – really think – about not what you want next week BUT what you want YEARS from today.
Because your land is an important asset for you to value for years!



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