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Forest Planner: tools for better forest management

Landowners large and small find it difficult to manage forestlands for their many benefits, including wildlife habitat, carbon storage, clean water and other ecosystem services, and timber products. Ecotrust’s Forest Planner tool was built to meet the challenge.

Ecotrust has long worked to demonstrate that forests could be managed ecologically, for the long run, and return a profit. Now, we are focused on helping forest landowners large and small manage a forest for ecological and social, as well as financial, returns.

Ecotrust’s Forest Planner tool helps forest landowners visualize different harvest schemes that deliver different returns — whether for timber revenue, carbon storage, wildlife habitat or all of the above.

“We took a whole spectrum of options going from industrial management to zero harvest,” says Forest Planner project manager David Diaz, “and now we can tell a manager how they can manage a watershed for maximum timber revenue, spotted owl habitat, and minimum fire risk. Additionally, we can now say bring us your data and we can tell you what’s actually going to happen in your forest rather than a forest that just looks like yours.”

Check out the Forest Planner tool at forestplanner.ecotrust.org and watch the video to learn more:

Check out the Forest Planner tool at forestplanner.ecotrust.org.

Planning their Forest’s Future

Peter Hayes owns and operates Hyla Woods — three forested properties that span 820 acres in Oregon’s northern coastal range.

For years, Hayes has been thinking about how he can capitalize on the carbon sequestration provided by his forest. The Forest Planner will help him determine sequestration levels based on different management scenarios.

“Business-as-usual forestry has some significant liabilities. Having access to reliable information about the potential consequences of our different choices is really important,” he says. “Our fundamental goal is to find approaches to forestry that work as well in the long run as they do in the short run.”

And now that carbon sequestration and wildlife habitat protection mean potential revenue for forest owners, Hayes says Forest Planner will give forest managers a sense of how those new revenues contribute to the bottom line over time.

“We’ve been thinking about carbon in our forest for about 15 years, but now it’s become mainstream,” Hayes says. “Assessing carbon sequestration is one of the core things that a planner can help with.”