- What is a professional forester?
- Why use the services of a private professional forester?
- When should a forester be contacted?
- What can a forester do for you?
What is a professional forester?
For the purposes of this directory, the term "professional forester" means a person who has successfully completed a four year college level curriculum accredited by the Society of American Foresters and has received a Bachelor's Degree in Forestry from that accredited institution.
Note: Forester Certification is a voluntary credentialing program of the Society of American Foresters. (SAF). It assures the public that Certified Foresters have a degree from a professional forestry program, have a minimum of five years experience, have passed a written proficiency examination, have shown the intent to participate in continuing forestry education, and ascribe to a uniform standard of professional practice and conduct. Those in this directory who are Certified Foresters are shown with an * by their name. However, many not shown as being certified do meet the requirements for certification, but have chosen not to participate in the program.
Association of Consulting Foresters is the only national organization devoted solely to consulting foresters and the private landowners they serve. Since 1948, ACF has been dedicated to advancing the practice of professional consulting forestry; establishing and maintaining high ethical standards for its members, and promoting and encouraging stewardship of the forest resource. Contact ACF at 888.540.8733, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Standards for ACF certification and membership include:
- A minimum of a B.S. degree in forestry from an accredited college.
- At least 5 years of practical forestry experience.
- Member's principle business activity is forestry consulting work to the general public.
- Members may not have an economic interest in a timber purchasing or procurement entity.
- Members must complete annual continuing education requirements
ACF CM designates are candidate members working toward fulfilling ACF membership requirements.
Why use the services of a private professional forester?
Eighty-seven percent of Indiana's forest lands are owned by approximately 190,000 private landholders. Most all of these ownerships are considered to be commercial forest lands capable of growing a continuous supply of forest products, and at the same time, serving as: areas of good habitat for wildlife; areas that protect watersheds and prevent erosion; areas that are aesthetically pleasing; and areas that can provide satisfying recreation to their owners, their families and friends.
As a forest landowner, you control a resource that is vital to Indiana's economic and social well being. Indiana has a wood-using industry which has created more than 50,000 Hoosier jobs. It is the state's sixth largest industry contributing over 3 billion dollars to its economy annually. Nationally, Indiana ranks ninth in total lumber production and third in hardwood lumber production with only North Carolina and Pennsylvania producing more.
Indiana's forest resources are highly productive and if properly managed can easily double their productivity and the economic return to their owners. Forest management is an investment that earns a competitive rate of return for the investor.
Many landowners have neither the knowledge nor the time to apply important forest management practices. Therefore, the need for professional foresters is evident.
In managing a forest, two considerations are of major importance; its biological limits and the owner's objectives. They will determine how and what management practices are applied and the productive potential of the forest. A professional forester has the skill and knowledge to assess your forest and develop an appropriate management plan.
Please do your forest, yourself and Indiana a big favor. Give a professional forester a chance to walk with you through your woods to evaluate its needs and potential. You may be pleasantly surprised.
When should a forester be contacted?
There are different times and reasons when one should contact a forester.
If you are a woodland owner or are planning the purchase of woodland, you should contact a forester. If you do not already have a forest management plan, contact a forester for assistance in preparing one. This is an important tool needed today to manage your woodland properly. Be sure to make your forester aware of your objectives: Are you primarily interested in wildlife, recreation, or aesthetics? Will you want timber sale revenue to finance major expenditures such as college for children, a new car, or a new house? Or do you want to let the timber increase in value for use to supplement other income during retirement?
Prior to selling your trees, be sure to contact a forester so that the trees are properly selected and marked for sale. A plan for the proper harvesting operation should be prepared to lessen impacts on the land and remaining timber stock. Foresters are experienced in knowing which trees are ready for harvest, and those that should be left for future income, wildlife habitat, and to maintain the health of your forest.
What can a forester do for you?
Foresters are trained to do many diverse things for you. Listed here are a few of these important issues.
Prepare a management plan for your woodland, based on your objectives and the potential of your woods.
Work within the guidelines of the management plan to assist you with management activities, such as timber stand improvement (TSI), tree planting, or timber harvesting.
Estimate the costs of needed TSI and tree planting, and help you obtain government cost-sharing for this work.
Select, mark and measure trees to be harvested according to BMPs to meet your objectives.
Advise you on the expected sales value of your timber, based on:
- its volume, species and quality
- the cost of logging
- supply and demand
- timing of markets
Identify available markets for saleable timber, based on species, grades, volumes, values, etc.
Assist you with advertising your timber for sale through competitive marketing, accepting and evaluating bids, and preparing a timber sale contract.
Create a BMP for the harvest activities to minimize logging impacts.
Advise you or your accountant on investment cost and tax consequences associated with timber management and/or sales.
Thinning as both a part of timber stand improvement and regular harvests is the single most important tool for maintaining the health and productivity of your woodland. Giving adequate space for each "crop tree" so that they have all the moisture, nutrients and sunlight needed to grow steadily is the goal of thinning. About the only place you would not want to spend much time thinning is on an extremely poor site. Timing of a thinning is the key to keeping your trees growing. If you wait too long, trees slow in growth, and if not given room, in time, health problems such as insect and disease attack may occur. If you thin too early, you could over-thin causing a loss in production because the site would be underutilized. Over-thinning can also cause epicormic branches to form on the trunk thus causing a loss of quality. If you believe your woods may need a thinning to keep it healthy, seek the professional assistance of a forester.
Indiana Forestry and Woodland Owners Association
1007 North 725 West
West Lafayette, IN 47906