Forest management plans

A management plan is a vital component of successful forest or woodland management which allows operations to be undertaken on a strategic, rather than ad hoc basis.

At its most basic, a woodland management plan is a working document, which provides a central point to keep all of the paperwork associated with the management of a woodland, with information about the boundaries, features and woodland character. There are a number of good reasons to produce a woodland management plan:

  • Woodland management is a long term commitment. A plan enables an owner to make coherent decisions to manage the woodland to reach their objectives and to pass on information about ongoing management of a woodland to contractors or subsequent owners.
  • A management plan allows an owner to provide evidence of compliance with the legal obligations associated with woodland ownership such as obtaining felling licences or management of protected habitat.
  • A management plan provides evidence of ongoing activities to support applications for independent certification, it is also a requirement for the payment of a number of Forestry Commission grant schemes.

Grants are available to produce woodland management plans in England and Scotland. Further information, with downloadable templates and guidance is available here (England)and here (Scotland).

The Sylva Foundation have an free service for woodland owners called myForest ( which provides on-line resources for management planning, marketing and contact information for foresters, agents and forestry based businesses.