Forest Stewardship Plan
Components and Definitions

Forest Stewardship Plan's must be prepared by a forester with a B.S. degree in Forest Management or equivalent curriculum.

Plan Component Rating Definition
Landowner information   Name, signature, address, and phone number (not required if unlisted or owner does not have one) of forest owner (to be placed on the title page of the plan).
Plan preparer information   Name, signature, address, and phone number of professional natural resource manager who prepared the plan (to be placed on the title page of the plan).
Plan preparation date   The date that the plan was presented to the landowner for acceptance (to be placed on the title page of the plan).
Legal description,
or directions to site
  A description of how to find the site; i.e., plat survey information, tax book information, or specific written directions to the site (to be placed on the title page of the plan).
Stewardship acres   The number of acres covered by the plan.
Landowner goals for the property   A list of the landowner's goals for management of the property.
General property description   A property overview giving general location, major forest types, general landforms, relevant descriptions of the landscape, etc. (usually one paragraph).
Interaction with surrounding properties   Describe stewardship activities within the context of the neighborhood and how interdependency may affect management.
Map of the property   An aerial photo, drawing, or map that contains stand delineations, roads, boundaries, water, etc., clearly and adequately labeled. Include legend, north arrow, and scale bar.
Known threatened and endangered species   Review statewide database for possible presence of threatened and endangered (T&E) species (state and Federal listings). If T&E species are present, suggestions should be made for their protection and habitat enhancement. If no T&E species are found, note this in the general description or stand description.
Soils information   Describe how soils may affect the attainment of landowner goals. (Can be generalized over the entire property when soils are uniform.)


Required Components, to the extent needed to meet the landowners objectives.

Plan Component Rating Definition
Stands by cover type and area (acres)   A description of forest stands in terms of cover type and acreage.
Description of dominant vegetation   List trees by species and size class within the stand.
Stand characteristics, based on a reliable field inventory   A reliable field inventory is any sampling technique that will provide similar results when replicated in the same place. This item is not scored separately but is apparent from the following 9 items:
Dominant Vegetation   List trees by species and size class within the stand, with estimate of percentage of stand represented by main species.
Tree Species   A listing of the tree species found in the management area.
Size class   A listing of the different size classes of trees found on the property, with an estimate of the percentage the entire stand that each class represents.
Stand health   A statement describing the health and condition of the forest, including noted problems such as insects, diseases, site hazards, or stocking.
Site quality   A statement describing the site capability for supporting forest growth and associated flora and fauna. Examples include site index, Habitat Type Classification System, etc. This should be expressed in technical terms along with terms the landowner can understand.
Stocking   A description of the relative population of trees within a stand on a per acre basis. This can be expressed in trees per acre or basal area, along with terms such as "overcrowded" or "under utilized" as long as these terms are clear to the forest owner.
Timber quality   A statement indicating the quality of the timber (high, medium, low, or cull).
Growth rate   The growth produced by the forest on a /acre/year basis, measured by increment borings, growth models, or permanent CFI plots. Expressed as a unit growth/acre/year or as a percent of the residual stand.
Stand history   A statement regarding the past use of the stand. Sources of information include the landowner, observation, old photos and neighbors.
Integrated items
(based on observation or printed reports)
  For a landowner interested in enhancing his/her land in a particular use, this will be a fundamental, well-developed part of the stewardship plan. In cases where the landowner’s interests do not include enhancing the property’s other potential uses, the plan should still offer the landowner a brief description of "what might be" if all options were pursued.

No matter what the landowner’s goals are, the following 5 potential use items should be discussed.
Fish and Wildlife Habitat and Uses   The potential use of the stand by fish and wildlife, as well as ways to minimize any negative impacts on fish and wildlife through management activities.
Water quality issues   A statement addressing any water quality issues that might be occurring in the forest and suggestions for optimizing impacts of management activities on water quality. May include references to BMPs or AMPs.
Timber production potential   This requirement can be met by including a non-technical description of the site’s relative potential; for example: "The combination of climate, soils, drainage, and topography present here result in a site well suited to tree growth and timber production." Although timber production may not be the owner’s first priority, this will communicate available options to the landowner.
Recreational opportunities   Recreational use is one of the primary goals of forest owners in the Area. Development of trails, vistas, feeding stations, hunting areas, and fishing piers are some of the practices that have been recommended in plans. In some areas, sites will have little to no recreation potential, in which case an acknowledgement of that would be appropriate and sufficient.
This element is one that helps ensure that plans address multiple benefits.
Hazardous fuels   Identify any areas of hazardous fuels and make recommendations for reducing wildire hazard.
Important natural features   The amount of description needed to satisfy this requirement will depend on the particularities of each site. Dramatic viewscapes, rock formations, waterfalls, scenic meadows, rivers, streams, etc., if present, should be described and taken into account in plan formulation. A site that has no particular features that distinguish it from other sites can be described in the following manner: "Beyond the description provided above, this property or ownership does not have any particular natural features requiring additional mention."
Aesthetics   A statement describing the visual quality of the property, and covering the landowner's objectives on whether to manage for aesthetics. Include areas for potential aesthetic management, and the effect of other management activities on areas that are currently aesthetically valuable.
Wetlands   A statement describing the presence of any wetlands on the property, the potential effect of various management activities on these wetlands, and the efforts that will be made to protect them.
Agricultural land and other   May be included within considerations for wildlife habitat or if recommended for planting in woody vegetation.
Cultural heritage resources   A description of any historically or culturally important areas or structures present. This may include buildings, cemeteries, or any other relevant entities. A brief statement should be made describing efforts that will be made to preserve cultural heritage resources.
Additional items   A description of any other resource found on the property that is not covered in the categories above, as well as its management implications. This category should be utilized to make sure that any specific objective of the landowner not previously mentioned is addressed.


Plan Component Rating Definition
Compatibility with landowner objectives   Plan identifies and describes actions to be taken by the landowner to protect soil, water, range, aesthetic quality, recreation, timber, and fish and wildlife resources in a manner that is compatible with landowner objectives.
Plan length
(number of years:____)
  Plan identifies the length of time it is intended to cover.
Implementation schedule - Required
(number of years:______)
  Plan identifies the schedule for implementation of management activities, and the year when the plan should be re-evaluated.
Time   Recommendations consider landowner's available time, interest, money, and energy.

Activity Schedule

Landowner: Mr. Example
Planning Horizon: 10 years
Date: August 12, 2008

Activity Location
Unit Numbers
Priority Time Period Activity
9 1 Fall 1999 Maintain fence to protect seedlings until white pines are over 5 feet tall.
9, 10, 6, 5, and 4 1 Fall 2000 Develop trail access.
1 and 8 2 Spring 2000 Prepare site, plant white pine and red oak seedlings, and fence to protect from deer.
4 and 5 1 Winter 2000 Treat grapevines, and do crown-touching release of timber crop.


Plan Component Rating Definition
Summary of site-specific management activities.   This should be a concise statement or section summarizing the activities, detailed in the rest of the plan that will take place on the property.
Easy-to-follow logical format   The plan is formatted in such a way that the reader can logically follow the flow of ideas, and will understand what should be completed and why.
The writing style is easy to read and understand.   Readability is subjective, but most people can agree on a well-written plan. Reading level should be 7 grade or less.
The writer avoids wordiness, jargon, and mistakes in grammar and spelling.   A missing comma, mis-capitalized word, absent parentheses, some use of jargon, a misspelled word, or incorrect grammar should not result in a "Not Acceptable" rating. If the plan on the whole contains few errors of this nature, it should be rated as successfully meeting this element.
The plan meets the landowner's needs and provides useful advice in a skillful way.   While this is probably the most subjective of the elements, the peer review/consensus process should be able to resolve any conflicts of opinion.
The plan is likely to inspire the landowner to action.   Does the plan meet or exceed the landowner's expectations? Does it help the landowner better appreciate the potential of the property and inspire action to fulfill that potential? Reviewers should consider their ratings for the previous three elements in rating this standard.
Contact Information   Includes names and phone numbers of contacts who can assist the landowner in a variety of situations, including state forester, threatened and endangered species experts, etc.


  • Excellent/very good – E
  • Good – G
  • Acceptable but needs improvement – A
  • Not acceptable / not included – N
  • Yes / no – Y, No