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Farm Woodlot Management (BF 150)

Bf150WoodlotAssessing the economic potential of a managed forest

Woodlots are a common feature of most farms in the eastern US, and are often overlooked for the value they might bring to the landowner and to farm enterprises.  Farmers and woodland owners need to recognize the potential values of their woodland resource, be familiar with common ways a woodland can add value, and identify how the woodland will support the interests of the owner.

During this course, we will examine the methods to assess forest resources and discuss common woodland activities such as cutting firewood, harvesting logs for mushroom cultivation, and support for wildlife and long-term forest health.


Target Audience

ALL LEVELS:  Farmers and landowners who own woodlands, or have woodlands on their farm or in the family and can manage those woods.  Participants should have an interest in working their woods to improve their financial outcome and to ensure healthy trees with long-term productivity.


Course Objectives

As a result of this course participants will be able to:

  • Make informed decisions, knowing what actions the owner can pursue and what activity they should contract through a forester
  • Describe the type, quality and potential of woodlands on your property
  • Connect attributes of the land correspond to the interests and needs of the owner for common woodland products of value
  • List resources available to inform their decision-making
  • Be able to select trees that can be grown for a future crop and remove trees useful for firewood



The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments in MOODLE, our virtual classroom. To add to the experience, webinars will be woven into the online interface of the course to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from presenters and ask questions in real time. If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing.



Peter Smallidge, NY State Extension Forester, provides a variety of teaching tools and resources for woodlot management, invasive plant management, timber production and maple sugarbush management through Cornell Forest Connect.



This course is currently closed for registration. It will next be offered in Fall 2017.


Course Outline

Week 1: Overview & Tree Identification 
Topics covered: Course overview, expectations, why and how to identify trees, best recognizable features of 10 common northeastern trees, and resources on how to learn more trees

Week 2: Forest Ecology 
Topics covered: How soils, land history, and other factors influence what types of trees grow in what locations; how to select trees for a point sample

Week 3: Thinning your woodlot 
Topics covered: Defining good versus bad trees, how many trees should you have in the woods, estimating the volume and value of a tree, exploitive cutting, different strategies to select trees to retain or cut, chainsaw safety

Week 4: Maple Production & Firewood Harvesting 
Topics covered: Different strategies to obtain sap, the basics of how sap is made into syrup, what equipment and resources are necessary for syrup production, assessing a woodland for and firewood production

Week 5: Silvopasture and Mushrooms 
Topics covered: Defining what is involved in silvopasture (woodland grazing) and gourmet mushroom production, what types of owners would benefit from these practices, general overview of silvopasture and mushroom production.

Week 6: Ownership Objectives and People Who Can Help 
Topics include: Identifying how your woods can help your financial interests, people who can help and what they can do, resources to help you plan for the future


Cost and Registration

Fee for this course is $250. Registration is currently closed and will re-open in Fall 2017.

Sign up a month or more in advance of the start date of any of our courses and receive $25 off. Sign up for three or more courses and received $50 off your total.