Last Updated on February 11, 2022 11:20 am
RALEIGH – Over half of North Carolina’s private forestland is owned by individuals and families, collectively making them the largest group of forest owners in our state. The N.C. Forest Service offers many programs and services to help owners manage their woodlands and Avery County Ranger D.J. Whitson is available to help. The amount of privately owned timberland in Avery County is about 98,000 acres. Individual landowners play an important part in keeping the forests of Avery County healthy and growing.
“Wildlife management, forest protection and conservation are the driving interests for most landowners,” Whitson said. “N.C. Forest Service programs are designed to help owners protect their woods and make it easier to pass these resources along to future generations. I enjoy helping landowners manage for the future.”
NCFS services include water quality inspections, storm preparation and recovery guidance, and woodland management plans.
“A woodland management plan casts a wide net and is designed specifically for each distinct property, while catering to the objectives of the landowner,” Whitson said. “The majority of our landowners manage for traditional upland hardwoods such as yellow poplar and oaks.”
There are several benefits linked to a woodland plan such as property tax savings, cost-share programs, a better understanding of how to protect the woodlands and staying connected with the right forestry professionals.
In addition to woodland management plans, the N.C. Forest Service can provide management plans that address specific forestry practices such as harvesting and prescribed burning. Prescribed fire is an important, low-cost forest management tool used to benefit forestland and wildlife.
Prescribed burning controls the spread of some tree diseases, prepares seedbed for natural regeneration of native trees and increases sunlight reaching the ground, promoting fresh growth of low-growing shrubs, grasses and plants for increased wildlife food and habitat.
For more information about woodland plans, visit www.ncforestservice.gov/Managing_your_forest/why_do_i_need_a_plan.htm. To contact the N.C. Forest Service Avery County office, call 828-766-8043 or email Avery.email@example.com.