by Zac Chandler, Forest Wildlife Specialist Forester: Tennessee
Developing a plan for your woods sounds simple, right? You consider what you would like your woods to look like and how you would like to use them. But writing a conservation plan can be deceptively complex when you begin to factor in forest types, wildlife needs, watershed health, and other considerations into your personal goals for your woods. That’s where a forester can assist you. They have the expertise to help you develop a plan that describes the current condition of your forest, outlines goals for the future, and provides management practices to help improve the health of your forest. Improving forest health can help enhance wildlife habitat for game and nongame species, from songbirds and game birds to mammals like rabbits and deer. Enhancing your woodlands with the expertise of a forester can give you the biggest bang for your buck – or grouse!
Financial and Technical Assistance is Available
Financial and technical assistance is available for forest landowners in Tennessee and Kentucky interested in managing their land to benefit wildlife. Ruffed Grouse Society is excited to connect you with our new Wildlife Foresters in Kentucky and Tennessee who can direct you to these resources. In addition to writing a conservation plan for your property, they can help you find contractors that specialize in timber harvest or invasive species removal, or they could connect you with cost-share programs that can help pay for the cost of management.
Kentucky Landowners: Ben Rhodes, KY Wildlife Forester, Phone #: (859) 487-0177, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tennessee Landowners: Zac Chandler, TN Wildlife Forester, Phone #: (865) 469-9038, Email: email@example.com
Below are several financial and technical assistance opportunities for woodland owners in Kentucky and Tennessee. You can help start the conversation about available resources by viewing these resources and sharing any opportunities you’re interested in with your forester as you develop a conservation plan. They can assist you in determining which resources would be applicable to your plan and help you apply.
General Landowner Resources:
American Tree Farm System: American Tree Farm System (ATFS) assists small woodland owners through certification of sustainable forestry practices, assisting in the creation of management plans, monitoring for pests and invasive plants, and more as part of their State Tree Farm Program.
Estate Planning for Forest Landowners: A guide by the United States Forest Service (USFS) that outlines the importance and the process of including your woodlands in your estate planning.
Forest Carbon Works: Forest Carbon Works can help landowners earn money from the carbon offsets that their woodlands create.
Kentucky Forest Stewardship Program: A program available to all private landowners in Kentucky to help them develop a management plan for their property.
Kentucky Tree Farm Program: The Kentucky branch of the American Tree Farm System. Kentucky woodland owners can get connected with their State Tree Farm Program here.
Kentucky Woodland Owners Association: Kentucky Woodland Owners Association (KWOA) provides educational opportunities for woodland owners looking to further their knowledge on forest management and advocate for woodland owners on relevant policy issues.
USDA-NRCS Kentucky: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) provides financial assistance to woodland owners through Farm Bill programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, or EQIP. You can view available financial assistance opportunities by following the link to your state’s NRCS website.
University of Kentucky Extension: The University of Kentucky’s Forestry Extension provides a variety of educational resources for both professionals and landowners to use. This includes From The Woods Today, a radio and webinar series that discusses a range of natural resource topics relevant to Kentucky. There are also publications on taxes, wildlife, invasive species control, tree identification, and many more topics.
Tennessee Department of Agriculture – Landowner Assistance: The Tennessee Department of Agriculture lists resources for woodland owners, including a directory of consulting foresters and opportunities for financial or technical assistance.
Tennessee Forestry Association – Tree Farm Program: The Tennessee branch of the American Tree Farm System. Tennessee woodland owners can get connected with their State Tree Farm Program here.
USDA-NRCS Tennessee: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) provides financial assistance to woodland owners through Farm Bill programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, or EQIP. You can view available financial assistance opportunities by following the link to your state’s NRCS website.
University of Tennessee Extension: The University of Tennessee’s Extension provides a variety of educational resources that cover topics related to forestry, native grasslands, wildlife, and more. Tennessee White Oak Initiative: A multi-agency collaboration to restore white oak populations in Tennessee. White oak is a valuable species for wildlife, forest health, and wood products, but has declined due to lack of active forest management. Woodland owners can play a role in helping to restore white oak to the landscape. Follow the link to learn more about the initiative and how you can help.