How to write a wildlife management plan

Planning is not a single event, but a series of continuous steps that lead to the desired goal. Forest management plans are necessarily long-term. The plan guides the actions for decades, ensuring continuity between generations of owners. The plan can be as detailed (short-term recommendations) or as general (long-term recommendations) as you wish. The first step is to prioritize, set goals and identify management actions to achieve these goals.

Forest management plans have traditionally followed a common format. They should be written and checked periodically for updates or changes as per your request. Professional foresters, wildlife biologists, soil and water specialists, recreation specialists, and others are highly recommended in developing the plan.

Statement on the objectives and tasks of landowners

A well-written plan should start with determining the landowner’s ownership goals. Long-term goals (over 10 years) are generally general. Short-term goals are more focused, with specific practices and timelines. These include: stand improvement activities, stand thinning programs, timber harvesting, site preparation programs and methods and dates for regrowth or replanting (regeneration).


Your plan should include a sufficiently large map and / or aerial photo showing the location of the property and how to get there. Boundaries must be clearly marked and described.

Protection and maintenance

Include a description of your activities (or planned activities) against the following key protection and maintenance requirements:

  • Marking and maintenance of property borders and corners
  • Control of roads, paths and entrances
  • Firefighting practices
  • Inspection, protection and rescue against insects and diseases
  • Timetable for reviewing and updating the management plan

Stand descriptions and inventory data

Each stand must be described and correctly marked on the map of the property and / or on the aerial photo. Soil types, number of acres, tree species, population age, stocking density (trees per acre), tree diameter range, average tree height, amount of standing timber, tree condition and health, and exceptional tree quality. water or drainage. resources for more specific help 11 information is essential. For owners with a natural, recreational, aesthetic or other purpose, a description of the importance of the stand for other plant and wildlife species should also be provided.

Recommended forest management activities

The “real meat” of a forest management plan is to apply your goals and objectives to the actual stands you have and then create a schedule of planned activities. Such planned / prescribed activities can be included in the previous “Data Stand Description and Inventory” or can be found in a separate section associated with each stand. The planned measures include:

  • Wood harvesting
  • Regrowth or replanting (regeneration) practices: site preparation, tree planting, recommendations for natural regeneration
  • Fertilize the forest
  • Commercial wood thinning
  • Pre-commercial thinning
  • Practices for the improvement of weed control and / or forest stands
  • Establish and maintain wildlife management practices
  • Installation and maintenance of water quality practices (BMP)
  • Increase booth aesthetics, recreational use, diversity of wildlife plants and species, and wildlife appeal.
  • Other: Requirements for compliance with federal / state regulations, such as the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, state water quality regulations, etc.

You may want to develop your plan or seek help from a professional forester. Regardless of who is doing the plan, a few key points apply to all plans:

  • No plan is rigid and can be changed at any time. The plan you have developed is an operational plan that, based on current conditions and facts, will help you achieve your goals.
  • The plans are unique to each owner and forest.
  • The plans must be reviewed and updated at least every 5 years or when the conditions or objectives of the owner (s) change. All owners and heirs, where possible, should be involved in developing and modifying the long or short term plan to ensure the continuity of forest management activities.

Funded by USDA Forest Service & Natural Resource Conservation Service
Developed by the Center for Invasive Species & Ecosystem Health at the
University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources and College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences

Wildlife management plans

The Wildlife Management Plan provides information on the historical and current use of the property, sets goals for the property, and provides a range of activities to integrate wildlife and habitat improvements to achieve your goals.

I piani di gestione del ranch sono progettati per soddisfare le esigenze della fauna selvatica, nonché i bisogni e i desideri del proprietario terriero. Succeed for Deer, Game birds or other species, the Wildlife Management Plan takes into account the requirements based on the available habitat and its potential availability. Depending on the goals you have set for the plan, different practices may be prescribed.

Wildlife tax exemption plans are likely to include elements of all seven wildlife management measures listed. All activities and practices are designed to overcome shortcomings that limit wildlife or damage their habitats. Each of the activities should be performed regularly or consistently as part of an overall habitat management plan. For example, the occasional spread of corn would not qualify as a complementary food supply under these guidelines.

The actions outlined in your wildlife management plan will be specific to the specific region of the state where your property is located. Istnieje wiele praktyk, które są odpowiednie w niektórych regionach Teksasu, a w innych są nieodpowiednie. For example, some areas of East Texas may not require additional wildlife water. And you may not need additional protection in South Texas.

Let us help you initiate or improve existing wildlife management on your property.

A wildlife management plan is where to start.

Find out what’s involved in creating a plan, giving you an orderly way to organize your forest management.

If you are writing a subsidized forest management plan, you must have a signed grant agreement before working on your plan.

A forest management plan offers land managers an orderly way to plan and organize sustainable forest management according to a common industry standard.

The UK Forestry Standard sets out the UK government’s approach to sustainable forestry and woodland management, including standards and requirements, regulations and monitoring, and reporting. It applies to all forestry and forestry activities, regardless of who owns or manages them.

Why create a management plan?

  1. The development of a forest management plan can demonstrate sustainable forest management and supports the planning and implementation of work proposals and their long-term monitoring.
  2. Some grant programs require land managers to have an approved management plan in place before applying.
  3. The activity plan, which is part of the management plan, allows the land manager to plan and obtain a clearing permit for up to 10 years.

If you want to create a forest plan, you should include all forest areas on your property.

How to create your plan

For woodland holdings over 3ha, you can develop a plan using the Forestry Commission’s full Woodland Plan template, the Plan of Operations template, and your own maps. A grant is available to help finance the production of a forest plan (PA3 site management option) that uses the full model of the Forestry Commission.

Use a small (macro-enabled) forest plan template (MS Word document, 560 KB) for woods less than 10 hectares: this is an application for a logging permit but is not eligible for funding for the forest plan. land use through the rural economy.

For non-FC woodland plan templates that don’t match the Forestry Commission’s woodland plan template in structure or composition, use this cover sheet ( MS Word Document , 36.5KB ) that states the UKFS criteria being assessed and provides a consistent framework for the Forestry Commission to review the plan. Non-FC Forest Plan Templates are not eligible for Countryside Stewardship Forest Management Plan preparation.

Download and complete the complete forest management plan template (macro-disabled file) (MS Word document, 1 MB) (for any size forest) using information about the forest, its history, its management so far, the structure and the composition, threats and problems and how they will be discussed and the proposed work that is intended to be undertaken.

Download and complete the inventory and action plan. It defines the forest inventory and must refer directly to the ranges and subgroups shown in the Maps (maps). The Movement Plan also collects information on culling and restocking, which is necessary for the issuing of the culling permit. Use this version with different formulas (MS Excel spreadsheet, 1.19MB) highlighting where in the sheets there are input errors so that you can make corrections. Alternatively, you can use the formula-free version (MS Excel spreadsheet, 341 KB) – This allows for freer data entry but no error checking and we may need to return it for improvement.

Produce Map – they’re an excellent way to communicate information to support your management plan. Use different maps to show different themes or themes that affect your forest. You need to make sure that every range you show on the map is reflected in the inventory of the operational plan. You can create a map:

  • apply for a map to the Forest District,
  • using the myForest service
  • use of its own Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Submit the draft forest management plan to the administrative center that covers your area. Be sure to include:

  • forest management plan template ready
  • list and action plan,
  • Map
  • plan submission form (MS Word document, 16.3 KB) if you are receiving campaign management funding

Contact details for the administration center

For more information, contact the admin interface that covers your area.

Check if your forest is destined or has special characteristics

The designated areas or objects should be indicated on one of the maps noted in your plan. If a designation is applicable, please provide details.

Magic map

Use Natural England’s ‘MAGIC’ map to check if your woodland is designated, for example, as an SSSI. You can also search for other items, such as planned monuments, priority habitats and species, and information such as details of the rural economy program in your area.

Search for information about the area

The Forestry Commission’s Land Information Search (LIS) is another map-based tool that allows you to search for information about land designations or features that might already apply to your woodland. Examples of these functions include:

  • previous felling models
  • subsidy programs

Sites of Scientific Interest (SSSI) are protected by law to protect their fauna or geology, so their designation must be declared as some require approval before work on proposed plans can begin. If you do not disclose any designations or features, you may be acting unlawfully.

Examples of completed forest management plans

Below you can see examples of completed forest management plans:

Authorize an agent to act on your behalf

If you choose to appoint an agent to develop a forest management plan, you must sign a form authorizing the agent to act on your behalf in dealing with the Forestry Commission. You can submit this Forestry Commission Power of Attorney form as part of your grant application.

You will also need to set agent authorization levels through Rural Payments to appoint an agent to act on your behalf if you are applying for campaign management funding.

Contact the Forestry Commission

Contact your local forestry officer for advice and guidance on completing a forest plan and a possible site visit prior to the project.

As part of the People, Ponds and Water project, we provide free public information on ponds management. Click on the links below to find out more.

Habitat management consultancy

Click on the gallery links below to find out:

  • The value of ponds for fauna: Find out why ponds are important to wildlife and why we need to protect them.
  • The value of the ponds for the heritage: Find out why ponds are important to our heritage and why we need to protect them.
  • Joint evaluation and examination: Joints can sometimes be damaged by mismanagement. Learn how to evaluate your joints to see if they need management or are already the best they can be.
  • Joint management risk assessment:Find out how easy it is to risk a valuation of your pond.
  • What Makes a Pond Good?: It’s not always obvious which parts of a pond are important for its plant and animal inhabitants. Finding out where wildlife lives makes management decisions much easier.
  • Review of the management of the pond: Discover myths and misconceptions about pond management along with the rules to help you make the best management decisions.
  • Management of ponds around trees: Is your pond shaded or surrounded by forest? This step-by-step guide will help you decide what to do.
  • Buster and Molly’s Guide to the Ponds: What to do when you take your dog for walks in ponds. A flyer you can share with site visitors about special ponds care.

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Preparation of lake (and hydrographic basin) management plans.

Management plans for lakes and river basins

Le attività di gestione del lago dovrebbero essere eseguite solo dopo che sono stati eseguiti studi di carico idraulico e di nutrienti per identificare il problema o i problemi nel lago e nel bacino idrografico e dopo che è stato preparato il piano di gestione del lago. Sub-basin approaches may need to be implemented to alleviate nutrient or sediment loading problems following further damage to the lake, and when this occurs, restoration measures in the lake may be warranted.

A lake and / or sub-basin management plan is a dynamic document that establishes objectives and action elements to create, protect and / or maintain desired conditions in a lake and its sub-basin over a period of time. Each lake development plan is different, depending on the conditions of the lake (watershed) and the interests of the parties involved. A lake management plan also provides a framework for future lake boards & users as to what issues have been addressed and how successful previous efforts were. Lake management plans can be created by lake associations, but they are often best left to lake management professionals as there are usually many complex and interrelated issues at stake.

While a lake management plan should be site specific, there are a few topics that cover most of the plans. These include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Information about the lake (depth, size, catchment area, buildings, etc.)
  • Management of aquatic species
  • Management / control of invasive aquatic species
  • Wildlife / fishing management
  • Nutrient balance
  • Coastal protection
  • Water quality protection
  • Management of recreational activities
  • Management of water resources

There are various methods that can be used to write a lake management plan, but the basic steps for writing one are the same:

Step 1: identify potential stakeholders. Stakeholders aren’t just the owners of lakeside properties. The best lake management plans cover all types of lake related interests, such as lake associations / districts; Chambers of Commerce; tourist activities such as restaurants, bars, bait shops, etc; sports clubs; fish & game clubs; wildlife organizations; sailors; agricultural interests in the catchment area; other business interests; town/county/city organizations & agencies; environmental organizations; any local tribes; other users of the lake.

Step 2: Inform the public and seek the public. Written or verbal surveys can help identify what users think is a problem. Look for information from a variety of sources when collecting data to characterize a body of water. Host public meetings where you gather information and answer questions. Ask all your contacts for information.

Step 3: Keep in touch with the relevant agencies. This will provide you with information on any requests, permits, zoning issues, etc. In some states, an approved lake management plan is a prerequisite for obtaining a grant from a natural resource agency.

Step 4: identify the problems. Assume that everyone’s perception of a problem has merit. Once a problem is identified, you should also look at its impact, location and timing, as well as known contributing factors.

Step 5: Prioritize Issues. Recognizing that perhaps all problems can’t be tackled at once, prioritize the problems.

Step 6: Look for activities and goals related to priority issues. For example, one GOAL could be to reduce coastal erosion. Some ACTIONS may include inventory of erosion sites, planting of indigenous vegetation, design / installation of other coastal protection methods or diverting flows from a particularly eroded area.

Step 7: Choose site-specific goals and strategies related to these goals. There may be several ways to fix the problem, but success typically comes from most of the site-specific and problem-specific actions that are taken. For example, if there are several types of invasives in a lake, there may be particular methods that are best for one type of invasive, but don’t necessarily affect the others. More than one action may be required, each targeting a specific problem.

Step 8: Estimate the economic costs. This is a good time to find out what grants or other funding may be available.

Step 9: Establish a program of activities and objectives and how to measure control activities. This should allow for coordination of efforts and activities, especially in the case of seasonal activities such as restocking or chemical treatment of invasive plants.

Step 10: Determine leadership & fiscal responsibility. Nobody is able to carry out all the activities normally foreseen in a lake management plan. Sharing responsibility while maintaining responsibility will increase your chances of success.

Step 11: Set methods & times for suggesting changes and modifying the plan as needed. Establishing a regular review period (annual, biennial, etc.) and methods for making suggestions for changes will help ensure that findings are reviewed in a timely manner.

There are several examples of lake management plans available on the Internet. The following websites provide more detailed instructions on how to write a lake management plan:

How to write a wildlife management planYour forest management plan is a written history of your forests. Contains hopes and dreams for your land and a chronicle of changes in forests over time. Forest management plans are important because they list goals and achievements, whether you’re building a trail or cutting enough firewood to heat your home each year.

If you are enrolled in the Use Value Appraisal, a program that provides a lower property tax rate for working forests, or if you wish to participate in a cost-sharing program through the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) or Forest Legacy, you will need to come up with a forest management plan. You will also need a forest management plan if you intend to become a tree grower or want your land’s wood to be certified by an outside organization.

Forest management plans always include maps. The maps show property boundaries, locations of different stands (groups of trees of similar type and age), roads, paths and streams. Other features marked on maps include hills, wetlands, openings and buildings in the forest, as well as an approximation of the size and location of your forest within a larger forest landscape.

Even if you hire someone to come up with a forest management plan, the plan should indicate what you value most about your plot and want to enjoy it over time. A professional can take an inventory of your land to determine your current assets before you begin writing a plan.

Many forestry consultants draw up plans and then assist landowners in their implementation by overseeing harvesting, road construction, inspecting invasive plants, or improving wildlife habitat.

There are several websites that can help you write your plan. My Land Plan is a popular site that you can use to plan for the future of your forest. Whether you write your own forest management plan or enlist the help of a specialist, the county forester will provide you with the tips you need to get started.

How to write a wildlife management plan

This shared management plan model allows landowners to use a management plan to participate in the American Tree Farm System, Forest Stewardship Program, and NRCS incentive programs.

This country model is based on the Montana Forest and Tree Management Plan developed by Montana State University Forestry Professor Dr. Peter Kolb. Find out more on the MSU forestry website.

States are encouraged to add their own state specific requirements, programs and resources to this module. To implement the model, the state ranger and state conservationist will need to develop a procedure through which landowners can apply to participate in the programs.

Download the management plans and guides:

Integration to the management plan

The new ATFS add-on is a tool for our certified tree growers, designed to help you review your management plans, reflect on management goals, assess the current condition and health of your forests, and make sure your management plan management meets the 2021 sustainability standards.

Based on the wide range of feedback we have received from you, our inspected foresters, leaders and volunteers from our state program, and the information gained during the third-party evaluation process, we have made improvements over the previous addendum. The new add-on is a better and easier-to-use resource for you.

Using the ATFS add-on is not a program requirement, nor is it a requirement for every landowner. However, we hope that you will take the time to read the appendix and demonstrate your commitment to sustainable forestry

To start

Learn more about the importance of ATFS certification and how to get started.

Tools & Resources

ATFS provides tools and information to help tree growers and forest owners keep their forests healthy and productive.


It is time to take action for the health of your forest. The strength of the American Tree Farm System comes from the people.


ATFS is an American Forest Foundation (AFF) program. Find out how we develop management from scratch by subscribing to AFF’s weekly electronic newsletter.

An innovative client case study for evaluating wildlife management

In 1995, Texas voters made wildlife management valuation, more informally known as a wildlife exemption, part of the state’s constitution as an agricultural valuation. But the loftiness of being part of the state’s highest law can be a far cry from the nitty gritty of actually qualifying for a wildlife exemption, and the fact that it exists is no guarantee a county appraisal district will approve a landowner’s application.

Wildlife management assessments play a key role in keeping Texas open. Their importance is reflected in how seriously they should be taken and how strictly the steps to achieve this rating should be followed and understood. Even those with procedural and administrative experience might find the county appraisal process a crazy and woolly ride, so Landmark Wildlife Management is committed to providing wildlife management expertise and helping Texas landowners like our client “Laurel” whose evaluation process was directed towards catastrophe before Landmark took the helm.

In the spring of 2014, Laurel purchased just over 20 ag-free acres. She loved the beauty of her new estate, but while studying land issues, she quickly realized that if she wasn’t ready to go full-time farming, she would have to consider wildlife management. About a month before the land was purchased, Laurel contacted Landmark. She found our website in her search for her and we discussed converting real estate to wildlife management. We created her wildlife plan and followed it along with her application through the approval process. Her application was due to be submitted about a year after our first interview, but we advised her to start the process immediately.

Like many of us, Laurel works hard at everything she has and is incredibly smart and savvy in administrative matters. She has done “thorough research” on her own and even met with AgriLife Extension and Texas Parks and Wildlife on her property to discuss the transition to wildlife management. In short, if anyone were to feel confident going through the application process alone, it would be someone like Laurel, so she decided to take care of preparing her retention plan and going through the application process herself. And while she felt prepared enough to wait for the application deadline, in her words, she now also felt “too embarrassed” to ask Landmark for help.

Considering her research and doing “a lot of things that cost time and money,” Laurel felt she had at least laid the foundation for the application dossier. You have also sent a supplement to the application to provide more details. The district inspected in the early summer of 2015. To her surprise, a district appraisal officer praised her for what she seemed to know about the land as they walked around the property, and Laurel described the improvements she made. and intends to do. Laurel was not represented during the visit and although she showed the appraiser the work she had done and despite the flattering words she received, she clearly did not impress the authorities. His growing fear of losing his ag rating, not only due to years of tax backlog, but also multiple tax increases in the future, ended in complete shock when his district assessment application was returned: REFUSED .

The effect of the wave of denial was felt almost immediately as her water bill had risen from $ 45 to $ 450 per month as the property was no longer tax free and now the water authority has found it commercial . Laurel knew she needed a specialist so she asked Landmark for help and we were happy we did. We immediately filled out and filed a protest form on behalf of you as a registered real estate tax agent. Our approach to denial was threefold:

1. Create a detailed wildlife plan with maps, photos, habitat descriptions and detailed descriptions of wildlife management practices.

2. Carry out additional apprenticeships on the property. In this case, this included huisache inspection, inspection of non-native trees (Chinese loan and Chinese tallow), creation of bushes piles, inspection of erosion along the edge of the pond, addition of a feeding trough for wildlife and nesting.

3. Generate a detailed and visual annual report to present with your nature plan.

In June of 2015, we scheduled an informal meeting with her county’s appraisal district. Both Landmark’s Senior Biologist and Founder Keith Olenick and our client met with the appraiser. We have told the story and, above all, we have presented a solid plan on nature and an annual report. The county agrees with us. Laurel’s wildlife exemption was APPROVED.

We can’t emphasize enough how incredibly smart and capable Laurel is and few would believe this could happen to someone like her, which really drives home the point of exactly how tough and specialized this process can be. She needed someone with experience to represent during the site visit, as well as create the right plan and conclusion right from the start. We are very pleased that Laurel decided to contact Landmark again when things got (very) difficult and she can now truly enjoy what she dreamed of again. In her words:

“I now have a wildlife exemption, five-year plan and great resource at Landmark and Keith Olenick. Even after our district hearing, he explained what I could do to improve the soil and made suggestions in response to my questions on a number of issues. I had been reading Landmark’s newsletters and I knew they were knowledgeable, but they fit their expertise to fit the specific needs of my land, with emphasis on repairing soil depletion and water management. I realize that if I had called Landmark first, I would have gone much further in what I want to do with the surface. On the other hand, I would have underestimated them so much if I hadn’t had such a miserable experience trying to make it on my own. I would recommend Landmark Wildlife to anyone who needs the best help deciding how to secure their open space rating and be a good site manager. They are dedicated to making their owners’ dreams come true. “

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