MDC forestry services offered to Missouri landowners - Mountain Grove News-Journal : Business

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MDC forestry services offered to Missouri landowners

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Posted: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 12:25 pm

The Missouri Department of Conservation has offered a wealth of services to the public for more than 60 years. Their job is to protect and care for the forest, fish and wildlife resources of the state. They can also help private landowners manage these natural resources on their property.

Missouri is more than 30 percent forested. Private individuals own about 85 percent of Missouri's forest land. Proper management and care of the private forest resource are important to the health of Missouri's economy and environment.

Department of Conservation foresters can help private landowners become good stewards of their forest land. The Department offers two levels of assistance based upon the landowner's need and interest in long term forest management. The two levels are Advisory Service and Management Service.

Advisory Service

Advisory Service is available to all landowners, including urban residents. This service includes group training sessions, publications, film and video loan, office consultation, insect and disease identification and analysis, referrals to consultants, on-site visits under certain conditions and help with evaluating and choosing land management options.

They encourage owners to accompany the forester during an on-site visit to the property. The landowner must provide the legal description of the land or the street address with the request for assistance.

Management Service

Management Service is available to landowners interested in the long term management of their forest. Those who receive management services agree to develop and carry out a management program for the immediate and long term stewardship of their property.

Management Service includes assistance in developing and carrying out a management plan for the property. Activities in the plan may include:

*Marking and selling forest products.

*Guidance for conducting timber stand improvement, including harvesting and using wood for personal use.

*Advice on tree planting, including free use of mechanical tree planters.

*Pest identification and analysis, including lab services when needed.

Guidance on wildlife habitat improvement, erosion control, outdoor recreation development, soil and watershed protection and forest road location and construction.

To receive these services, the landowner must:

*Show proof of ownership by a copy of the property deed or current tax receipt.

*Complete a Forest Management Questionnaire provided by the Department.

*Develop and agree to follow a long term forest management plan for the property.

The Department provides the landowner with:

*An on-the-ground visit to collect forest resource information.

*A map or aerial photograph of the property showing buildings, roads, streams, vegetative cover types and other important features.

*An interpretation of the resource information and a summary of management options.

*Assistance in developing a management program for the property.

Marketing Guidelines

Selling timber is done only occasionally by most private landowners. Many request the knowledge and aid of a forester in marketing their timber. Department foresters can help landowners with marking and selling timber under these guidelines:

*Provisions under Management Services are met.

*Property boundaries must be located and marked on the ground.

*The land must not be listed or advertised for sale.

*The timber sale area is not being converted to a non-forest use.

*The sale specifications must be within the allowable limits of the management plan.

*The landowner must agree to the terms of a Timber Sale Assistance Agreement.