Recording and documenting
What was the seed source? When did you first
prune your trees? What was the volume from the first harvest?
These questions cant be answered if good records havent
been kept. Planting and managing trees on farms has been described
as "writing a history on the landscape". Unfortunately,
this history is often only held in the memories of those who
have witnessed the changes over time. Documenting forest management
and recording observations and production ensures that farmers
can answer questions about the history of their forest. Good
records may also be critical when marketing forest products
Farm foresters are encouraged to keep a "Tree-Diary"
in which their forestry activities and observations are recorded.
Each farm forestry project may be allocated a section of the
book where notes are made about anything that might be of
future interest e.g. the source of planting stock, site preparation
or pruning history. Keeping track of the costs, including
the number of hours spent working in the forest, can help
a farmer judge viability. It's hard to know what information
will be of value in the future so the more that can be included
in the diary the better. Taking lots of photographs is a simple
way of documenting change, particularly if photo-points or
landmarks are used.
Independent verification of the management history
of a forest may be required for some products. Pruned stand
certification involves the assessment of a plantation after
pruning and certification by an independent person. As the
trees grow, the quality of the pruning operation is disguised
by the bark. Certification provides the owner with some proof
that their pruning was done on time and on target. The Australian
Forest Growers administer the Australian pruned stand certification.
Similar certification may be required for the sale of carbon
credits (record of previous land use) or for the production
of organic produce.
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