Forest Management Plans

A written forest management plan identifies goals for your woodlands and outlines the steps you will take to reach your goals. It provides direction for management decisions and is required for participation in most stewardship, cost-share and tax relief programs. The resources below will help you learn about the benefits of having a forest management plan and what a plan should include. There are many professionals who can help you develop and implement a plan.

ATFS Standard 1: Commitment to Practicing Sustainable Forestry
Landowner demonstrates commitment to forest health and sustainability by developing a forest management plan, implementing sustainable practices, and seeking opportunities to expand their knowledge and understanding of sustainable forest management.


Having and implementing a management plan provides for a healthier forest.  It also helps save time and money while increasing returns and enjoyment. To be eligible to participate in certification and tax and cost-share programs you must have a written management plan. Discover how a management plan can help you and your forest here.


Goals and objectives are a landowner’s big-picture vision for the property and are the most important part of a forest management plan. They are the foundation for all management decisions and activities. Read here to learn things you should consider when setting your goals and objectives.


Certification, cost-share, stewardship and tax relief programs each have specific requirements as to what must be included in a forest management plan to qualify for participation in their program. Learn about requirements of North Carolina programs in this section.


Maps help woodland owners identify special sites and water features and protect them during management activities, are useful for trail placement and marking boundary lines, and they are required for participation in forest certification and other programs. Here are some resources that will help you with mapping your property.