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Forest Stewardship Planning Guide

Laura Miller Alban, Scott A. Thomasma, Mark J. Twery

Being a good steward of forest land is difficult. The primary purpose of this guide is to provide people with exposure to and explanations of a wide range of forest practices used to produce a variety of benefits from forests. The first step is to determine what goals the forest owner has for the forest. The Forest Stewardship Planning Guide program, which runs within the Microsoft Windows® environment, guides the user through a process of selecting forest stewardship goals. The program offers a great deal of basic information about forests and their management, along with menus of possible stewardship goals. This program makes limited recommendations on how to manage a forest for specific goals and describes the conditions that must be created or enhanced to accomplish them.

Note: The Forest Stewardship Planning Guide is a 16-bit program that will not run on Windows 7 or later. It does run properly on Windows XP.

The relationship of The Forest Stewardship Planning Guide to NED

image - logo for NED softwareThe Planning Guide is one of a group of computer programs intended to support good forest stewardship. The full set of tools is known collectively as NED, a computer-based, decision-support system being developed by the US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. NED will provide site-specific expert recommendations to improve management for multiple values on forests in the Northeastern United States. These expert recommendations will be based on the full range of resource values, including wildlife habitat, visual qualities, and watershed and ecological characteristics, as well as traditional timber and economic values. This will be accomplished by incorporating the knowledge of many resource experts into the system, and using that knowledge along with inventory data describing the present state of a forest management unit, to build prescriptions that define a path for managing the forest with silvicultural techniques in a way that should accomplish the user's goals.

The process of generating prescriptions for forest management is a complex one. The first step in the process is to identify the goals of the forest owner or manager. The Planning Guide assists a user through the process of determining what is wanted from the forest. Because the Planning Guide does not use data from a specific forest, it is unable to detect whether goals conflict directly with each other and cannot make specific stand-based recommendations.

Once the goals for a forest are identified, the next steps are to determine what information will be needed to support decision-making, to design an inventory process that will acquire those data, to collect inventory data from the stands, and to make the data available to NED through a data entry process. NED will provide many reports on different analyses of different resources available for comparing alternatives.

The Planning Guide is intended for use by a wide range of individuals and organizations, including national and state forestry organizations, forest industries, private organizations and individuals, and educational groups. The design of the program enables the user to gain information about forestry and to make more informed decisions.

Documentation and Downloads

Document Format
Forest Stewardship Planning Guide software (1.8 mb, Self-extracting zip file) exe
Forest Stewardship Planning Guide User's Manual (version 1) pdf


Last Modified: 07/14/2015