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Forestry

Forestry and Agroforestry

Non-industrial forestland owner or operator in Washington?

The first step to having a healthy productive forest is a clear comprehensive forest management plan.  Regardless of how you define “productive”: timber products, non-timber products, wildlife habitat, clean water, or some other ecosystem services,  a forest management plan will help achieve your goals.

What Is Agroforestry?

Agroforestry is a unique land management approach that intentionally blends agriculture and forestry to enhance productivity, profitability, and environmental stewardship. Agroforestry can be a key tool for farmers, ranchers, woodland owners, communities, and others who want to use sustainable strategies that enhance agricultural practices and protect natural resources.  More information can be found on the Agroforestry Strategic Framework fact sheet. (PDF; 1.8 MB)

Which ever category is of interest of you, NRCS is able to provide technical and potentially financial assistance to help you maintain and improve your forest’s health. 
 

Forest Management Plan Overview

If you don’t currently have a forest management plan, the NRCS’s conservation planning process, can help you clarify your forest stewardship goals and objectives. This process will aid in identifying the resource concerns affecting your forestland and may be stifling your ability to reach your forest stewardship goals. Listed below are common resource concerns of forestland:
 

Resource Concerns Forest Concerns
soil erosion within your forest plantation or on roads/trails near streams and wetlands
soil quality productivity, compaction and organic matter concerns
water quality streams and wetlands
water quantity managing too much or too little water
forest health pests, diseases, wildfire risk reduction and improving vigor, growth and productivity
wildlife habitat quality and quantity
livestock grazing and forage concerns


Once the resource concerns have been identified, NRCS can design for you, a resource management systems that would specify forest conservation practices to treat the resource concerns and get you back on track in achieving your forest stewardship goals. Your decision of which resource concerns to treat, the system of practices with which to treat them and when to treat them, is called your conservation plan.


 

Common NRCS conservation practices available for forestland planning and financial assistance
Practice Code Non-industrial Forestry Practices Practice Code Agroforestry Practices

383

Fuel Break 311 Alley Cropping
384 Wood Residue Treatment
(Formally known as Forest Slash Treatment)
379 Multi-Storied Cropping
(sometimes used for cultivation of specialized forest products)
391 Riparian Forest Buffer 380 Windbreak and Shelterbelt Establishment
394 Firebreak 381 Silvopasture
395 Stream Habitat Improvement & Management 650 Windbreak and Shelterbelt Renovation
396 Fish Passage    
472 Access control    
490 Tree and Shrub Site Preparation    
612 Tree and Shrub Establishment  
(a forestation or tree planting)
   
643 Restoration and Management of Declining Habitats    
644 Wetland Wildlife Habitat Management    
645 Upland Wildlife Habitat Management    
647 Early Successional Habitat Development and Management    
654 Road/Trail/Landing Closure and Treatment    
655 Forest Trails and Landings    
660 Tree and Shrub Pruning    
666 Forest Stand Improvement
(stand release and pre-commercial thinning)
   
All conservation practices installed using NRCS financial assistance need to follow specific criteria.
Refer to
e-FOTG Section IV for practice standards and other documents for each of the above practices.

 

Ready to develop a Forestry Conservation Plan?

Contact your local NRCS office to discuss your forest planning questions and treatment options.

Another option is to use our partners at the WA Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
DNR foresters and wildlife biologists, can advise you about how to develop and implement an integrated, multi-resource Forest Stewardship Plan for your property. These Forest Stewardship Plans typically dovetail into NRCS planning and financial assistance programs.

If you prefer a private consulting forester or conservation district forester to write your Forest Management Plan, NRCS offers the financial assistance for forest management planning through Environmental Quality Incentive Program’s Conservation Activity Plans (CAP 106- Forest Management Plan). This option encourages the use of the WA DNR's Washington State Integrated Forest Management Guidelines (PDF; 237 KB) for its CAP 106 forest management planning process.

Consulting Foresters and Forest Contractors are encouraged to register on our TechReg website and become eligible to design, layout and certify forest Practices or write Conservation Activity Plans.


Already have a Forestry Plan?

Do you already have a Forest Stewardship plan written by the WA DNR,  a certified forest stewardship plan through the Coached Forest Stewardship program (presented by the WA DNR and WSU Extension), a Forest Management Plan written by your Conservation District or a certified forest management plan through the Tree farm program?  NRCS may be able to provide you financial assistance for implementing your plan using Farm Bill programs.

Potential Sources of Financial Assistance

Having a plan for your forestland is the first step in achieving your forest management, wildlife and financial objectives and goals. If you would like to get a Forest Management plan written for your property, you can apply through the EQIP program.

NRCS ASSISTANCE:  Through the use of the Farm Bill Programs NRCS is often able to provide financial assistance in the implementation of your conservation plan, forest management plan or Forest Stewardship plan (developed by WA DNR). Farm Bill programs offered for forestland include Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP-Keeping Your Forest Healthy), Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP), Conservation Stewardship Incentive Program (CSP) and Wetland Reserve Program (WRP).

PARTNER ASSISTANCE:  Through a memorandum of understanding the NRCS has partnered with the WA DNR to further good forestry stewardship in WA. A WA DNR Forest Stewardship Plan meets all planning requirements necessary to apply for financial assistance through NRCS programs.

A forestry conservation plan may also be developed by a third party. These forestry consultants must registered on the
TechReg for WA. These Technical Service Providers (TSP) are hired directly by forest owners or operators to provide forestry planning service on behalf of the NRCS. Plans developed by TSP's may apply for financial assistance through an EQIP Conservation Activity Plan (CAP) 106- Forest Management Plan.

 

Forestry Planning Partners and technical references for forestland stewards