Why You Are Receiving Differing Management Advice.Mar 19, 2023
Have you ever consulted with two different foresters, or other natural resource professional, and received two different recommendations?
And depending on what it might have been you asked advice for, the differences may have been slight or significantly different. They're both foresters... they're both listening to what you expressed as your goals and looking at the same piece of land...
So why differing advice?
Well if you're unfamiliar with the term "silviculture" it is the technical term used when discussing the management of a forest. Why am I sharing this? Because silviculture is defined as the art AND science of managing a forest.
Now this is important to understand....
Let's start with the science part: all forest management recommendations have a science-backing, researched methodology to it. There are often proven results conducted over a long period of time for each potential recommendation. And this science continues to this day, allowing us to continue to improve upon what we know for the best management of forests for a variety of goals and needs.
But it's the first part which causes for the differences of recommendations to occur.
The art factor.
Art: its interpretation, its admiration, its technique, and its preferences are subjective.
So even though all forest management has a scientific basis to them, how they are applied and in what order is where the differences lie between foresters. And these differences may arise due to past experiences or personal preferences in operations.
So let's get back to it, why are you receiving different management advice recommendations from your consultations, assuming you are providing the same information of goals?
It comes down to the art side of silviculture and their interpretation of what will work BEST for you, your site, your goals and within your expressed budget. It also comes to their background: what is their work experience... was it always in consulting or did they come from private industry; have they worked in non-profits or government? What is their education background: are they forest management (forestry degrees) or from another natural resources' education such as wildlife management, soil or another natural resource degree?
None of these are better or worse than the others generally, but it provides pieces to the puzzle of why they might be providing their perspective of prescriptions.
So how do you decide whose plan to go use and who to work with?
It comes down to your connection to the forester: who do you have a better relationship within personalities? Who do you communicate better with? Because both of these factors will greatly increase the trust factor with your resource, which is critical when making management decisions.
So is 726 trees per acre better than 605 trees per acre to plant? Is 4th row plus selection thinning better than 5th row plus selection thinning? Is it better to harvest at age 25 rather than 30 or 35?
In the end, one decision over the other won't make your forest "better" if you're not confident in the forester helping execute the work and providing the advice.
So, what do I recommend?
Find a forester you can trust, who understands your goals, objectives and vision you wish to achieve, and can help you create that on your forest. Those are the recommendations you should move forward with.
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