Managing Your Back 40

By AJ Brucks, Executive Director, Van Buren Conservation District

    Local conservation partners are coming together this month to host a workshop to teach local forest owners their options and opportunities in managing their woods. This is a hot topic in most of Michigan, especially among owners that want to increase wildlife populations or sell off trees to make a profit. “A lot of farmers have a back 40 wood lot that they don’t do much with,” says Nor Serocki, Coordinator for the SWxSW Corner CISMA, “by doing just a small amount of management back there, they can really reap a lot of benefits.”
    The workshop will be held on Friday, June 14 from 12 to 5 p.m. at the Hamilton Township Hall, with both formal presentations and in-field portions. Anyone who would like to attend should call the Van Buren Conservation District at (269) 657-4030x5 to RSVP.
    The workshop will cover how and why to manage forests, tax issues and incentives through the Qualified Forest Program, possibilities for collaboration with the Michigan Agriculture En-vironmental Assurance Program (MAEAP), and invasive species management. The CISMA, which helps to manage invasive species in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties, points out that many wood lots in Michigan deal with invasive plants, which can lead to big problems down the line.
    Serocki explained “Forests don’t work on our timeline. You can’t manage a forest to make money next year, or the year after. If you’re trying to bring back in deer or owls to a forest, it could take a few years. But Invasive species work fast, meaning that owners need to be diligent and need to actively manage the problem.”
    Many programs exist to help land owners with forested property better understand and manage the resources they have. The MAEAP program helps farmers throughout Michigan ensure they’re following best practices, and a new program can certify forest land owners, too.
    “The MAEAP Forestry, Wetlands, and Habitat program is a new addition to help landowners who don’t farm, or farmers who had wooded areas, manage more of their property with the environment in mind,” said Kyle Mead, MAEAP Technician with the Van Buren Conservation District. The MAEAP program is excited to be reaching out to more of these landowners, assisting with the transition to more environmentally friendly practices with this free, confidential, and non-regulatory service.

The Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes

The Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes
32280 E. Red Arrow Hwy. • P.O. Box 129
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-5080

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