1. Do I need a Forest Management Plan?
Although a Forest Management Plan may not be required by state regulations, we strongly recommend it (and it is required if your property is protected with a conservation easement). A Forest Management Plan ensures that you have fully considered your goals for your forestland, now and for future generations, and that the continued health and regeneration of the forest is part of any timber harvesting plan. Learn more about Forest Management Plans.
2. What are the most common types of trees in our region?
Our region is primarily a northern hardwood forest, which includes a mixture of hardwoods and conifers and usually contains beech, birch, sugar maple, hemlock, black cherry, and white pine.1 Deciduous trees such as beech, birch, sugar maple, and black cherry are broadleaved trees which shed their leaves annually. Conifers such as hemlock and white pine bear evergreen needlelike or scalelike leaves year-round.
3. How do I find a forester?
Consulting foresters are private contractors. Some may be found on ShopLocalSaveLand.com or on PA-DCNR; most also have website or phone listings in the region. PA-DCNR also has service foresters available, which are invididuals who work for the state but may be able to provide assistance in writing and reviewing Forest Management Plans, cost-share or other technical assistance, or information on hiring a consulting forester. For landowners in New York, similar programs are available, with DEC foresters available to provide assistance and "Cooperating Foresters" available for hire.
4. What do I need to know about timber harvesting?
Penn State Extension has a comprehensive and helpful resource, Timber Harvesting in Pennsylvania: Information for Citizens and Local Government Officials, which answers many common questions about timber harvesting, logging, and its impact on forest health and wildlife. The New York DEC provides a similar resource for New York landowners. Be sure to work with your forester to verify that you have obtained any necessary local or state permits before conducting a timber harvest.
5. How is my property going to look after a timber harvest?
This depends on the extent of the harvest and ease of access to the site, which determines whether temporary roads need to be created. The forester or logger can describe to you the way the forest will look after the harvest, and may be able to work with you to minimize adverse aesthetic impact (for instance, conducting a harvest on frozen or dry ground to minimize soil disturbance).
6. Will logging cause soil erosion and negative impacts on rivers and streams?
This is where Best Management Practices (BMPs) are key. This will include careful planning of temporary roads, bridges or culverts at stream crossings, providing adequate buffers between disturbed areas and streams or wetlands, and addressing postharvest regeneration and control of competing vegetation, among numerous other considerations. When working with a forester and/or timber harvester, be sure to bring up any concerns you may have.
7. Where can I learn more about protecting my land with a conservation easement?
Each land trust in our region will be able to provide more information to you. Visit the Delaware Highlands Conservancy's FAQ page, Natural Lands Trust's Preserving Your Land page, or Wildlands Conservancy's Easements page for some details and frequently asked questions about land conservation.