Total Resource Land Management Plans
The key to forest and wildlife management is the development of a long-term detailed plan based on the landowner’s goals and sound management practices. The first step in plan development is scheduling a date and time to meet the landowner on the property. At this time a sharing of ideas occurs and recommendations are made per management unit. These plans have accompanying aerial photographs, soil maps, and stand summaries which indicate the type of practice, and the timing of the practice with a full array of informational handouts and brochures. These plans are to be used as a tool that will lead to a successful end.
Our plans will provide the non-industrial landowner with the information and knowledge to improve their timber resources, wildlife habitat, and overall land aesthetics. A typical scenario would be the thinning of a northern hardwood stand to improve tree health, productivity, and natural regeneration. We would then implement several wildlife practices such as the establishment of wildlife food plots (perennial cover), seeding of harvest roads/decking areas, red oak tree plantings, and the establishment of shallow water wildlife ponds.
Most of our plans are written through the Forest Stewardship Program which is federally funded through the Forestry Title of the Farm Bill with annual allocations made to the State of Michigan. The Forest Stewardship Program (FSP) is designed to encourage active management and multiple uses of all resources on forest lands. Cost-sharing for these voluntary long-term plans is available.
Commercial Forest Act Plans
For those forested properties listed under the State of Michigan’s Commercial Forest Act (CFA), we will conduct an on-site visit to your property to collect current forest conditions for the management plan. Your Commercial Forest Act plan will be written through the Forest Stewardship Program (FSP). Upper Michigan Land Management receives an annual grant from the State of Michigan to meet with landowners to provide long-term plans based on sound forest practices and the client’s goals and objectives. The Forest Stewardship Program allows us to utilize a 50-50 cost-sharing in which the landowner only pays for one-half of the forest plan costs. These well-written long-term forest plans will meet the requirements set forth by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Forest Management Division, State of Michigan.
For more information on the Commercial Forest Act program, please see the following link; http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-30301_30505_34240-34016–,00.html
Timber Sale Administration Program
Since 1993 our timber sale administration program has proven to be a successful program, which protects the rights of the non-industrial private landowner while ensuring sound forest management. We have completed timber sales with a wide range of diversity from northern hardwood thinnings, aspen clear-cut, red oak shelterwood cuts, and periodic red pine thinnings. Following detailed forest management plans, we ensure the completion of sound forest management practices. These practices will produce a sustained yield of high valued timber products while improving upon the existing wildlife habitat.
Our foresters will recommend and implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) to protect our precious lakes, streams, and all bodies of water. Landowner, Chuck Farrell, inspects his river crossing of rip-rap and cement culverts. This crossing was designed and built to facilitate timber harvesting operations.
As the landowner’s agent, we act on your behalf ensuring all practices are completed according to the signed timber harvesting contracts. Foresters’ duties and responsibilities are as follows:
- locate and mark approximate forest boundary lines
- locate and mark internal harvest lines
- determine “No-Cut” areas
- locate and mark buffer strips
- individually mark trees to be harvested
- determine harvest volumes by species and product
- complete a timber sale notice
- select the successful bidder through competitive bidding
- complete the timber harvesting contracts
- collect a performance bond and insurance certificates
- inspect the harvesting operations
- complete a final inspection
- close the sale out.
Our payment schedule is as follows: Payment of 20% of the bid amount to be made within 14 days of the signing of this contract. The balance of the bid price is to be paid before the start of cutting operations. Except in the absence of cutting, the second payment of 40% will become due six months from the date of signing of the contract and the final payment of 40% will become due twelve months from the date of signing of the contract. Other options for example are payment units, in which the timber buyer will pay for a portion of the timber by the unit before cutting.
Thus, we receive full payment before harvesting operations. Our timber sale administration program will acquire top dollar value in today’s market conditions while getting the job done right!
Timber Cruising and Consulting Report
Our timber cruising services can provide landowners with volumes by species and product. These numbers are especially important when establishing timber sale amounts and the landowner’s timber basis. Timber basis is the total volume of tree species by-products and the values associated with those volumes at the date of purchase. The timber basis is subtracted from revenue generated through timber sales. Thus, the landowner’s taxable income would be lessened. This is known as depletion allowance or the amount the IRS will allow to be deducted from income when timber is sold. All new landowners should acquire a timber cruise and timber basis report for tax reasons.
Quite often, northern hardwood stands are non-commercial but still require a timber stand improvement (T.S.I) thinning. These timber stand improvement thinnings generally remove the poorest quality trees, thus improving the health and productivity of the residual trees. Future commercial thinnings will then be of higher quality and higher value. Commercial timber marking services are offered to a variety of ownership types. Our timber marking services are completed according to sound forest management practices. A well-marked northern hardwood stand will have the capability of producing a sustained yield of high-value timber products through scheduled thinnings approximately every 15 years.
Forest Boundary Line Location
Establishing a landowner’s approximate forest boundary lines should generally be completed within the first couple of months of owning the property. Landowners need to be aware that forest boundary lines should be established by professional foresters who are familiar with historical field evidence, property corners, compass declinations, and the absence or presence of local iron ore deposits. We GPS, compass, flag, and paint in all approximate forest boundary lines associated with an individual parcel of land.
Landowners need to be aware that these approximate forest boundary lines are just that and NOT registered survey lines. We are not registered surveyors. A landowner requiring true survey lines should contact a state-registered surveyor.
Expert Witness Testimony
We have provided expert witness testimony for non-industrial private landowners that find themselves in dispute with adjacent landowner activities, such as logging activities. When a timber trespass occurs due to improper location of cutting boundaries, our foresters will determine the volumes and values of the alleged timber trespass. Our foresters will provide in-court testimony when required.
Forest Road Maintenance
With our 46 hp, 4 wheel-drive Zetor tractor and 6 1/2 foot Rhino brush hog, we mow and maintain existing forest roads. This road maintenance allows the landowners to access their property in comfort while enjoying a nature walk or a leisurely ATV ride. In addition, we have taken overgrown, poorly maintained roads and have established perennial wildlife cover using a combination of wildlife seed mixtures. This activity will stabilize roads while creating available wildlife food and cover.