The Forest Stewardship Coached Planning Program provides a one page forest stewardship values template to help hone in on primary values and goals of owning our forest land. It also provides separate questions to answer in the 5 inch thick binder of materials from the first class. They recommend that each individual involved with the land complete the form separately, and then compare answers together. This helps bring out any differences early on and encourages proactively working toward a common long range vision for the forest and land.
Karen and I completed the Values questions and compared our answers. Fortunately, they were very much in alignment and there were no discernible differences across all of the questions! It’s almost as though we have been thinking about this together in advance… From that information, I wrote the Stewardship Vision and Landowner Objectives sections that open our Forest Management Plan:
Our vision for the land is to encourage and protect a sustainable forest habitat consisting of diverse native Whidbey Island trees, understory, and wildlife. Our long term goals revolve around preserving the land and native forest for the long term beauty of what makes Whidbey Island special, both ecologically and aesthetically.
General Forest Objectives:
- The south half of the property will encourage the health and perpetuation of the deep dense native forest bordering from Parker Road.
- The north half of the property will also be maintained as forest and thinned / pruned to enhance views of Penn Cove.
- Over 11 acres will be maintained as forest, and approximately 2 more acres will be maintained as natural forest understory and smaller native trees through integrated permaculture techniques.
Specific Forest Stewardship Objectives:
- Enhance healthy long term ecosystem.
- Focus forest management to achieve the characteristics of a complex native old growth forest over time.
- Conserve and preserve natural habitat into the future.
- Encourage existing native food varieties and plant native berries in understory.
- Enhance personal enjoyment, privacy, and property aesthetics.
- Provide attractive natural environment for guests.
- Provide educational example of best practices in forestry, habitat preservation, and integrated sustainable building.
- Produce small amounts of lumber from cleared areas and thinning performed for improving forest health. This lumber will be first used in construction of onsite buildings, and will only be taken from areas that need to be cleared for other purposes (house site, solar access, thinning for forest health, and thinning for view).
- Proactively remove and keep out invasive species.
- Prevent deer from over-eating native and garden food plants.
- Re-plant exposed half acre area in northwest corner of property with native species.