A management plan is a road map of the objectives you have established for your property. One of the first things you should do when beginning to write a management plan is to decide what your goals and objectives are.
When developing a management plan for your land, it is essential that you set goals and objectives. Setting goals has many benefits. It helps to ensure that your time and resources are being invested wisely, and it can help you avoid costly mistakes. Setting goals can also help you communicate effectively with professionals who have been hired to assist you in reaching your land management objectives. It also encourages you to think about your property, its resources and how you want to use it in the future.
The development and execution of your management plan will depend on your objectives. Think about what you want to gain from your property and its resources. Before making any final decisions or putting anything in writing, talk with family members and other stakeholders to ensure that everyone agrees. Once everyone is on the same page, make a list of your goals and objectives.
As you create the list, think about your expectations and the potential of your property. Remember to keep your objectives realistic so you won’t get discouraged or overwhelmed during the execution of your plan.
When adding your objectives to your management plan, you should write a goal statement that broadly summarizes your vision for your property, but it should also be specific enough to outline and evaluate your objectives so you can evaluate the success or failure of each activity. As you develop the goals and objectives, remember to prioritize them so you will have clear starting and ending points.
Because this step in your plan is perhaps the most important, try answering the following questions as you develop and prioritize your goals and objectives.
- How long do you plan to own your property?
- Do you plan to use your property differently in the future?
- Have any natural disturbances affected your land?
- Do you plan to work on your property yourself, and if so, do you have the time, skills, and equipment necessary?
- Do you plan to manage your forest to create additional income?
- Do you plan to use the property for recreational purposes?
- Do you plan to allow the property to be used by the public?
- Do you need to create or improve the trails and roads on the property?
- Do you want to create or improve wildlife habitat on the property?
- Would you like to use your property to help educate others about forests and forest health?
Once you have decided on your goals and objectives, add them to your management plan. Writing them into your management plan will help keep you on track and will also give you a road map of what to do and when to do it. As you complete each management practice, track the cost and successfulness of it. Keeping good records of each practice you employ is helpful when you review your management plan with your forester or other natural resources professional. You should also periodically review the goals you have developed to ensure that nothing has changed.
Lynn Dickinson, Regional Extension Agent, Forestry, Wildlife, and Natural Resources, Auburn University
New January 2022, Goal Development in Creating A Land Management Plan, FOR-2113