By Dan Corbin
Late last year, the trust members of the family farm decided to research and implement some “good practice procedures” for the forested portion of the property.
I contacted (Ed Furlough) the Virginia Department of Forestry, Charlottesville office to begin the conversation.
A forester visited the site, did research and evaluations and delivered a binder of overview information specific to our forested areas as well as regional, economic, timber and emerging forestry markets, diagnostic, resource, contact and program opportunities available to property owners.
On a walk through the woods, we discussed the terrain, the soil make-up and the current variety and condition of the treed areas of this mountainous area of Albemarle County.
He noted the timber cuts made on the property over the past 50 years and the subsequent regrowth, including the introduction of invasive species.
The conversation included:
– Use of herbicides in conjunction with labor to minimize costs.
– Controlling the regrowth, encourage the target species to grow as quickly as possible.
– Opportunities that exist for cost sharing programs, both private and public.
– Conservation Easement Programs
– Long Term Forest Management Agreements
– Forest and Agriculture Programs with local county authorities. These programs can create tax benefits, short term and permanent approaches but many will restrict your ability to divide and develop your property, in perpetuity.
There are other ways, such as the Virginia Dept. of Forestry Stewardship Plan, to approach best practices without diminishing your property rights.
For the value of your property, the benefit of your timber stand and to encourage and maintain a healthy wildlife environment, I suggest that you implement a forest stewardship program.