Forestry - The Leelanau Conservancy


Why do I need a forest management plan and who can I contact?

Most of our conservation easements require a Forest Management Plan and a Timber Harvest Plan before any trees are removed.  This is an important step in long term planning and management of your property.

A Forest Management Plan is written by a certified forester who will work with you to create a plan for managing forests on your property.  Even if this is not required by the terms of your conservation easement, it could be very beneficial to the health of your forest and long term forest management. A Timber Harvest Plan sets out guidelines for harvesting timber from the forest on your property.

If you are unsure whether or not this is required, please review your conservation easement or call and talk to Yarrow.

Why should I work with a consulting forester?

A consulting forester works for you, the landowner, not the mill or the logging company.  They will work with you to come up with a plan that suits your needs and management goals. The Leelanau Conservation District now has a district forester, Kama Ross. She can visit with you for no charge. She will come to your property and work with you to find a consulting forester to write a forest management plan or steer you in the right direction. She is a valuable resource. Call the Conservation District to learn more: 231-256-9783 or [email protected].

Below is a link to a document about hiring a consulting forester.

Hiring a Consulting Forester

Who are some foresters in the area I can contact for a forest management plan?

The Conservancy keeps a list of area foresters we have worked with in the past on our conservation easement property.  We do not require you to use the foresters on this list. It is only meant to be a resource for you.  Below is a link to this list. If you are a forester and would like to be on this list, or if you know of someone we should add to this list, please call the office and talk to Yarrow.

Forester List (2016)

What is a forest management plan?

A forest management plan guides the forestry practices on your property and outlines the different types of forests you have, what species could be harvested and when.   It usually prescribes various management practices (thinning, removing dead/dying species, etc) and defines a timeline for when they could occur.  It is not a timber harvest plan, which is written when it is time to actually conduct forestry practices on the ground. The plan will include maps and information about the soils on your property.

This is your plan and it is up to you whether or not you wish to conduct a timber harvest. If you decide to follow the plan, your forester will work with you to develop a timber harvest plan which will outline where the activity will take place, what trees will be harvested and for what purpose (saw timber, etc), and where any logging or skid roads will be. Most conservation easements have a provision that requires the Conservancy to approve both the Forest Management Plan and the Timber Harvest Plan. Once the plan is written and approved, the forester will mark the trees and then ask for bids from the logging companies.

Forest Programs –

There are a few programs in the state that give tax incentives if you enroll your property in the program and actively manage your property for forestry: the Commercial Forestry Act (CFA) through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and the Qualified Forest Program (QFP) through the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Each have specific requirements and different incentives. Please make sure you review the terms of your conservation easement and meet with Conservancy Staff before you enroll in any program. There are penalties for un-enrolling from the program.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources-MDNR

Link to the MDNR Forest Stewardship Program – Information for Landowners,4570,7-153-30301_30505_34240-107504–,00.html

Stewardship Handbook for Family Forest Landowners:

Certified Forest Stewardship Plan Writers in Leelanau County

Qualified Forest Property information:,4570,7-153-30301_30505_34240-164332–,00.html

Qualified Forest Plan Requirements:

Link to the MDNR Forest Legacy Program:,4570,7-153-30301_30505_34240-99280–,00.html

Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD)

The MDARD has three programs for forestry. They are listed below with links to the website-

Private Forestlands Initiative

Qualified Forest Program

Qualified Forester Registration

Commercial Forest Act in Michigan

Click here for information on Forest Pests and Diseases on our Resources Page