Your woodlot is a valuable resource to you and to society. Owning a woodlot can be a very satisfying experience and you can enhance that experience by working with your resources. The objectives you may have for owning your woodlot will vary depending on your interests. There is no "one size fits all" prescription.
One important questions you must ask yourself is, "What are my objectives with my woodlot"? Your objectives will help you decide which course of action is best for you. This is a list of some common objectives:
1. Enhancing the forest and biological diversity.
2. Improve the beauty and recreational value of your woodlot.
3. Improve wildlife habitat, soil, and water quality.
4. Improve the rate of growth and the quality of your trees and your timber profits.
5. Assure a steady supply of firewood.
6. Produce other valuable forest products (maple syrup or Christmas trees).
7. Create a valuable legacy for my family.
8. Build a house in the woods.
9. Build a trail in the woods.
10. Study nature and learn about my environment
If you want to improve your woodlot, you will have analyze what resources are available and then work with what you have. Your resources can include soil, timber, wildlife, plants, water, terrain, shrubs, etc. Careful planning and working with your woodlot's assets will help you increase the enjoyment and value of your woodlot.
Your may have to be specific in your objectives and realistic. If you want to attract wildlife, you may have to target specific species. Most species of wildlife have specific needs and your woodlot may not have the resources to provide for all species. Maybe your neighbor has the same objectives as you and wants to attract more wildlife. You can work together to accomplish a mutually desirable goal. You may want a greater variety of trees on your woodlot or more of a certain species. You may have to do some planting or cutting to encourage the tree species you want to grow. If you cut firewood for your home, you can leave the desirable species for more growth and better growing conditions. If one of your objectives is to develop a sugar bush, then you would want to thin out the beech, aspen and other trees, and leave the sugar maple. This may be better accomplished over a period of years rather than one large operation. Opening up a stand too quickly may produce unfavorable results. It will certainly favor regeneration and that would make it harder to get around.
Before you consider buying a woodlot, you may want to list what your interests are and what possible objectives you have or would like to implement. This will help you decide if the woodlot in question will be able to meet your desired objectives and expectations. A forester can assess the woodlot and give you a report on the condition of the forest and other features. This will help you determine if the woodlot will meet your expectations of owning the woodlot.
You should have some objectives if you want to improve your woodlot. Identify what your objectives are and then you can start planning your future course of action. It may be helpful to have an assessment done of the property to see what you have to work with. Envision what you want your woodlot to look like in 5, 10, or 20 years. You may need to consult with resource professionals such as foresters or biologists to help you develop a plan that will help you accomplish your goals. Some goals may be accomplished in a short time span or it may take many years. Have a plan that lists all the necessary steps to accomplish your goals and a time frame to help you plan when to do it.