Cooperative Forest Management Services Policy
The Environmental Conservation Law authorizes the Department to provide forest management services to cooperating landowners including but not limited to plantation establishment and care, the marking of timber, marketing assistance and silvicultural treatment of immature stands. Demands on available staff for forest management services has exceeded the Department's ability to provide such in a timely manner. The Department sponsors a Cooperating Forester program, providing an opportunity to refer requests for forest management assistance to a cadre of private sector professional foresters. Establishing limits on Department forestry staff involvement in providing services and relying on a system of referrals to Cooperating Foresters will enable the Department to impact in a positive manner as many acres of forest land as is possible with existing resources while meeting its mandated responsibilities.
The purpose of this policy is to outline parameters on certain services provided to cooperating landowners by Department forestry staff.
Since 1980 the available staff time to respond to requests for forestry assistance on private lands has been reduced by over 35% due to an erosion in the number of filled forestry positions. A Cooperating Forester program sponsored by the Department has promoted the use of services of private foresters in enhancing the number of acres of New York forest land benefitting from professional forester input into management decisions made by private forest landowners. Department forestry staff are involved in a variety of program areas. Involvement in such programs as administration of section 480A of the Real Property Tax Law has increased dramatically due to an eight fold increase in the number of committed properties since the first years of the program. Increased interest in urban and community forestry has generated expanded opportunities to provide service. Commitments of the Utilization and Marketing program and Forest Health Monitoring by the Department requires staff time to administer.
Cooperating Foresters are able to provide timber sale, forest product marketing, plantation and natural stand silvicultural marking and sale administration services. It is a particular advantage for landowners to work with Cooperating Foresters as they can provide sale administration services which the ECL does not authorize Department staff to provide.
The Department of Environmental Conservation foresters' time providing services to forest landowners should be focused towards educating landowners to the benefits of forest management; preparing professional forest management plans for cooperating landowners and assisting landowners with advice on the establishment of plantations, silvicultural treatment of forest stands and stewardship of their lands.
Department forestry staff shall provide services to forest landowners as follows:
- Sample marking of commercial forest products of one acre per ownership annually for landowner educational purposes.
- Marking of non-commercial forest stand improvement.
- In the event that a landowner, after solicitation of services from Cooperating Foresters within 50 miles of the landowners property, is refused by at least two, then he/she may request in writing, listing those Cooperating Foresters refusing to provide marking services, the Regional Forester to direct staff to provide commercial sale marking service limited to no more than 20 acres in a 12 month period. The intent is to maximize the use of professional forestry advice by landowners. Written requests from landowners for marking services shall be kept as part of the client's file. It is recognized that due to many circumstances including markets, and availability of Cooperating Foresters, that service to landowners may not be forthcoming in a timely manner to meet landowner needs and that the Department's forestry staff has the expertise to provide such service. Department forestry staff shall not solicit known Cooperating Forester clientele for timber marking services.
- Department Forestry staff should prepare forest management plans at the request of forest landowners. Referring landowners to Cooperating Foresters is encouraged on larger properties.
- Department Forestry staff shall provide technical assistance in connection with cooperative federal programs including the Stewardship Incentives, Forestry Incentives, Tree Assistance and Conservation Reserve Programs.
- Fees for marking services will be established and periodically adjusted based upon such factors as staff time costs, material costs and market value of such services.
The Regional Forester shall insure that Department forestry staff is adhering to this policy. Review of individual service foresters' accomplishments and landowner files are appropriate actions to ascertain compliance.
The Regional Forester, at the request of a landowner that has been refused timber marking services as outlined in III above, may direct forestry staff to provide marking services as enumerated in this policy.
Upon receipt of a written request from a landowner for timber marking service, the Regional Forester, at his discretion, may direct Department Forestry staff to provide such service consistent with provisions of this policy. Copies of landowner requests and written direction to forestry staff shall be maintained in the landowner's client file.
Environmental Conservation Law; Title 7; Sections 9-0701 and 9-0713
Cooperating Consultant and Industrial Forester Policy