Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Get Advice on your Forest with MO Woods App

Grab your smartphones. There is a new app ready for landowners with woods and forests. It was developed specifically to assist Missouri landowners in an initial evaluation of their woodlands for forest health, wildlife habitat and timber sale potential.

In the app there are links to other resources that may be of use too, such as: insect and disease issues for Missouri woods, wildlife habitat improvement options and timber sale guidance (from the Call Before You Cut website). Landowners now can email their results along with a picture of their woods and even request assistance from a forester.

Both iPhone and Android users can download this app, as it is available in both app stores. Start by searching for “Missouri Forestkeepers” or “MO Woods.” Once downloaded on your phone, head to the woods. The app will guide you through some steps to gather information. A series of pictures will help determine details about the woods.

One of the first questions asked is about forest density. The app requires a visual estimate of the density using low, medium and high as references. Next up is tree species identification. Identify the primary species in your forest that make up the main canopy of trees. Leaf pictures are provided to assist in identification.

For each species chosen, the app asks for an estimate of the percent present in the forest. It also asks for an average size of tree for each species. Three categories are there to give guidance on how to measure trees. Then, figure out the average quality of your trees in the species. Pictures are provided to serve as a guide.

Continue on to the next step and three different prescriptions will be given: one for timber sale potential, one for forest health, and one for wildlife value. Interested landowners can then send an email to request further assistance or to simply ask a question about their forest.

The MO Woods app is not a substitute for a forester. It is meant to be a starting point, and is written to capture statewide scenarios in broad categories. It will not identify specific market conditions or forest health issues. When in doubt, send an email to a local forester.
(from Green Horizons, February 2014 issue)

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