Explore My Land Plan Tool to Protect and Enjoy Your Woods

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Explore My Land Plan to Protect and Enjoy Your Woods

By Amanda Cooke

Last year, the American Forest Foundation (AFF) launched My Land Plan to provide a one-stop-shop for woodland owners who want to protect and enjoy their woods. If you own woodlands—whether it is 1 acre or 1,000 acres, My Land Plan is a fun and interactive resource that can help you explore what you want to do with your land.

Watch more video tutorials here: http://mylandplan.org/video/what-my-land-plan

Nearly 2,300 woodland owners have already signed up for the tools and resources found on www.MyLandPlan.org, and 250 foresters have registered with the Forester Directory to help connect with landowners who seek professional advice.

One of the major threats to woods is the invasive pests and diseases that attack trees. These pests can wreak havoc. For example, the gypsy moth has been in the U.S. since the 1800s, gradually expanding its range from its original escape in Massachusetts. They can live for years in very small numbers, then, for some reason, suddenly burst forth in a major outbreak that defoliates thousands of acres.

Another pest, the emerald ash borer, is a more recent arrival; it was first found in Michigan in 2002. A native of China, it probably came to Detroit in wooden packing material. In its short time in the U.S. and Canada, this tiny bright-green beetle has spread rapidly and killed millions of ash trees.

Forest pests and diseases can be destructive. But woodland owners aren’t helpless. Proactive care can go a long way in protecting the woods you love. When the pests do show up, there are often early warning signs. With the help of My Land Plan and a local forester, your state forestry agency, or state department of natural resources, you may be able to identify the signs and prevent an outbreak or fight the culprits off your land.

My Land Plan’s Protect It section provides you with tools and information you need to defend your woods from natural disasters, trespassers, and pests and weeds. 

For example, when the emerald ash borer reaches your area, there’s little you can do to stop it—but you can decide if you need to remove any ash trees that might fall on structures, or replant with native species that the emerald ash borer won’t strike.

With the gypsy moth, you can get more aggressive, setting up burlap traps to catch caterpillars when they climb down the tree trunk during the day, or applying insecticide to kill young caterpillars in the spring. My Land Plan can give you tips on dealing with these pests and more, from diseases like sudden oak death to weeds like privet and multiflora rose. Visit www.mylandplan.org/pests to learn more.

While My Land Plan is designed to help you explore ways to keep your land healthy, we encourage all woodland owners to seek professional help, because disaster recovery isn’t something you should do alone!

According to a U.S. Forest Service (USFS) assessment released last December, as many as 34 million acres of forestland could be lost in the United States during the next 50 years.  The assessment predicts that all regions in the United States will experience increased stress from natural disasters and pest infestations. With the right information, you can keep your woods bug, weed, and disease-free.

Sign up for My Land Plan to be among the best woodland stewards in your state; create your secure account today at www.MyLandPlan.org/signup. If you have questions about My Land Plan, please contact the American Forest Foundation at [email protected].