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Vermont ForestlandForestry is the art and science of growing and managing forests and forest lands for the continuing use of their resources.  Good forestry and wise forest management is key to maintaining Vermont’s forest dominated landscape.  Vermont’s working forests provide clean water, recreation, aesthetics, wildlife habitat, and a variety of forest products such as quality hardwood sawlogs, firewood, maple syrup, etc. 

NRCS’ role is to work with private landowners to help them determine and meet their management objectives.  NRCS can help landowners realize the importance of the resources associated with their forest land and to understand the effects of different management decisions.  In addition, problems with the land or “resource concerns” (e.g. soil erosion, invasive plants) will be identified and can be addressed with conservation practices implemented through a Conservation Plan.

NRCS works closely with public and private consulting foresters and wildlife managers to achieve the best possible results for Vermont’s landowners.  A good first step for forest landowners is to work directly with a private consulting forester to development a forest management plan.  In fact, a forest management plan is required before NRCS forest based practices may be applied on the ground.  

For those that do not have a forest plan, NRCS can help with that as well.  NRCS offers a Forest Management Plan that meets Use Value Appraisal (UVA) standards and also addresses forest stewardship elements such as recreation, aesthetics, wildlife habitat, rare species, etc.  In addition, these NRCS funded plans will also provide a framework for identifying and implementing NRCS practices on the ground to improve the forest.   NRCS has a list of private consulting Technical Service Provider (TSP) foresters approved to develop these plans. For more information see the VT NRCS TSP Webpage.

For additional information on NRCS Forest Management Plans please visit the Conservation Activity Plan Webpage.  This page contains fact sheets regarding Plan Development and Applications/Contracts as well as the Vermont NRCS Forest Management  CAP Plan Checklist.   The Vermont NRCS Forest Management  CAP Plan checklist provides a detailed list of what needs to be included in the plan.

Forestry Practices in Vermont

NRCS in Vermont offers a variety of forest based practices that can help meet management objectives and address resource concerns. The most common are listed below:

  • Forest Stand Improvement – Pre-commercial thinnings, overstory girdling to release regeneration, crop/mast tree management, and options from the “Foresters for the Birds Toolkit” (VT FPR Forests &Parks/Audubon VT) that help remove unacceptable growing stock and improve habitat for forest birds
  • Early Successional Habitats – Management of old fields or old orchards, creating young forest habitat
  • Invasive Plant Control – Identification, inventory, plan development and assistance with control activities
  • Forest Trails and Landings – addressing soil erosion and water quality problems associated with existing skid trails

These and all other NRCS Practices offered in Vermont can be found  on the Conservation Practices Webpage

The primary funding source for private forest landowners, for both NRCS Forest Management Plans and on the ground Conservation Practices (e.g. Forest Stand Improvement) is the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).  Please check the Vermont NRCS EQIP web page for current application deadlines.

More Links to Web sites:

NRCS Web sites:

NRCS Electronic Field Office Technical Guide (eFOTG)
VT NRCS Biology Page
VT NRCS Technical Notes  (scroll down the page to "Forestry")

Other Forestry Related Web sites:

Vermont Coverts
Foresters for the Birds – Audubon Vermont and VT FPR
Vermont Department of Forest, Parks and Recreation – Forestry Division
Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife
Vermont Woodlands Association

Links to Documents:

Crop Tree Management in Eastern Hardwoods

Forest Stand Improvement Info Sheet
Invasive Plant Info Sheet
Early Successional Habitat
Forest Songbirds                                                                                                                                      


Toby Alexander