The Alabama Forestry Commission assists landowners in managing their forests by helping landowners understand forest stewardship concepts of sustainable forest management. All recommended forest management plans and advice are offered at no cost and follow the National Stewardship Program which operates within the guidelines set out by the National Association of State Foresters' Principles and Guides for a Well-Managed Forest.
To help landowner’s have a well-managed forest, AFC associates first attempt to understand their reason for owning and managing the land; we call these a landowner’s objectives. Once our professional foresters understand this, they can help the landowner in several ways.
Using a stand management recommendation (SMR) landowners are provided a written proposal to address a specific situation. Next, the landowner is encouraged to address the management of the entire property through a Stewardship Forest Management Plan. Our foresters will work with the landowner to develop a management plan designed to meet their goals.
Once the management plan is in place, current accomplishments are acknowledged by the awarding of a Stewardship Certification. By partnering very closely with the American Tree Farm System and once a landowner is a Forest Steward, the merits of Tree Farm and third party certification are presented. As a landowner grows in the knowledge of multiple use forest management a threshold is reached where the landowner becomes eligible for Alabama’s flagship program, TREASURE Forest. TREASURE is an acronym for Timber, Recreation, Environment, Aesthetics, for a Sustained Usable REsource. When a landowner is awarded TREASURE Forest status, they have demonstrated sound multiple resource management to wisely meet their own objectives while at the same time protecting and enhancing the forest resources of Alabama.
A landowner may also wish to hire a professional forester to provide advice. Typically, these are called consulting foresters. A consultant is a forester who represents only the landowner who hires them. They will contract with the landowner to provide desired services, ranging from developing a management plan, prescribed burning and other intermediate treatments, marking timber for a sale or overseeing the final harvest and replanting.
Regardless of who you use to provide advice about managing your forest land, make sure you use a Registered Forester. This is a person with a four-year degree in forest management and who has passed a credentialing exam. Registered foresters understand the complex interactions that occur in a forest and can develop a plan to reach your goals on the ground.