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Energy and Environment Cabinet

Woodland adventure around every corner.

Division of Forestry
Forest Stewardship Program and Landowner Services

The Kentucky Forest Stewardship Program is a free program available to all private forestland owners who:

Forester working with a landowner.* own forestland 
* want to produce quality timber 
* want to improve wildlife habitat
* want to produce clean water
* want to take advantage of the scenic beauty
* want to fully utilize the recreational potential of 
   their forest 
* believe that it is their responsibility to care for the
   land in such a way that future generations may 
   have all the land's benefits to use and enjoy.

If this sounds like your goals - contact the regional office that services your county and start making a difference today!

The Division of Forestry, as lead agency in a multiagency partnership, will arrange for a forester, wildlife biologist, other natural resources professional or all of the above to meet with you to help prepare a customized forest stewardship plan based on your goals and objectives for the property. On the forest stewardship program application, you are asked to choose a first and a second priority of management from among the choices of proper forest management, fish and wildlife habitat, forest watershed improvement and forest recreation and aesthetics. To help you decide which management option is right for you, descriptions are below.

Properly Managed Forest

A properly-managed forest not only provides timber benefits, but also natural beauty, wildlife, recreation and high-quality water. After determining your personal goals and objectives, the forester will walk over the property with you and examine its features, health and overall site characteristics. Based on this examination and your objectives, the forester will make recommendations on how to manage the forest to best achieve your objectives. As part of this, the management of timber for commercial purposes, protection of water quality, improvement of wildlife habitat and the exploring recreational and aesthetic potential will be blended into the plan by the forester. 

Wildlife Habitat Improvement

The forest is the home of countless species of wildlife, ranging from deer, squirrel and bear, to butterflies, songbirds and earthworms. Whatever is done to the forest affects these wildlife forms. Each of these species has specific habitat needs and requirements and the requirements among species may differ radically. While old-growth trees are what is needed by some species; young, developing stands of saplings are needed by others. Depending on individual situations and your objectives, the forest may be managed to benefit specific species. When wildlife habitat improvement is chosen as your primary objective, a wildlife biologist of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources will meet together with you and the forester to examine the property. Recommendations may vary from putting up nest boxes to converting fescue fields to warm-season grasses to planting trees. When wildlife habitat improvement is chosen as your first priority, recreation, water quality protection and timber management are still considered but the main emphasis will focus on wildlife habitat improvement.

Forest Watershed Management

Forest watershed management, when chosen as your first priority, looks first at protecting the watershed value of the forest. In addition to the forester meeting with you to examine the property, the district conservationist with your county Natural Resources Conservation Service office will join you to be sure forest watershed concerns are addressed. Recreation and aesthetics, wildlife habitat and timber are still addressed, but the primary emphasis will be focused on making sure that your forest watershed is protected.

Forest Recreation and Aesthetics

When forest recreation and aesthetics are chosen as the your first priority, the district conservationist of your county Natural Resources Conservation Service office will join with the forester to meet with you. Together they will examine the property and give special attention to maintaining or enhancing the value of the forest for your personal recreational and aesthetic interests. Wildlife habitat, forest watershed values and timber management are still addressed, but the primary emphasis will be focused on recreation and aesthetics.