“The power of the program is that it comes to you. Everyone tends to procrastinate, and to have someone come to me and schedule a visit was what it took to get moving on my woodlot plan. Thanks for the program!” – Landowner visited by a Master Forest Owner Volunteer
Why is this Program Necessary?
Over 14 million acres of woodland in NY State are privately owned by approximately 700,000 nonindustrial woodland owners. That’s over 3/4 of New York’s total woodland area! It is estimated that less than 1/4 of the state’s private forest holdings are purposefully managed despite the educational programs and technical services available. In order to reap the benefits of this vital resource, sound stewardship is necessary. Stewardship objectives involve management practices that ensure ecologically sound forest productivity. Woodlands represent a important commodity that, if wisely managed, can generate a variety of economic, ecological, and aesthetic values to woodland owners and their communities, generation after generation.
The MFO program has helped over 1,000 woodland owners via on-site visits since its inception in 1991. The program has shown significant positive change in the behaviors by owners visited by a volunteer. Mail surveys of owners who were visited by MFOs, showed that the value of information received was rated a 4.2 on a 5-point scale. Further, as a result of the visit:
- 34% of the woodland owners prepared a written management plan, and 18% plan to do so.
- 60% of the woodland owners met with a professional forester, and another 20% plan to do so.
- 32% of the woodland owners implemented wildlife management practices, and 21% plan to do so.
- 42% of the woodland owners sought out more information on forest management, and another 7% plan to do so.
20% of the woodland owners used the information to save or earn on average $7,000 in the year preceding the survey.
In addition, MFOs annually participate in hundreds of community service efforts involving woodland education.
Are you interested?
An on-site, no-obligation visit is absolutely free! Woodland owners from across the state may contact a Master Forest Owner for information about the program and discuss opportunities for obtaining more satisfaction from one’s woods. At your request, an MFO volunteer will arrange a visit with you at your woodland to get a first-hand look and discuss sources of assistance or information. MFOs are experienced and knowledgeable individuals who can put you in touch with the right people to meet your goals. The MFO can also be instrumental in helping you develop a management plan for your property. If you would like to request a site visit, click here.
If you would like more information on the program, click here.