When Hurricane Katrina swept through Ford’s River Farms, it left a changed forest in its wake. Some stands went untouched, while others were broken and beaten by the devastating storm. Owners Russ and Barbara Ford, who had lovingly tended the 1,101-acre Tree Farm for over 30 years, wondered if it would ever be the same.
“Eighty acres of bottomland hardwoods,” recalls Mickey Webb, a consulting forester who works closely with the Fords. “Beautiful, big oaks—and they just got laid flat.”
Recovering from the disaster seemed impossible, and it might have been were it not for the Fords’ meticulous record-keeping. Their regularly updated management plan held every detail of how the woods had been, including maps and inventories of the trees, and that allowed the Fords to precisely calculate how much damage the storm had done. With Webb’s help, they revisited every piece of the property, noting what had survived and what hadn’t and updating their plan based on the changes they saw.
The result was a roadmap to recovery: a revised plan that would salvage what they could and restore the woodland to health.
Your Tree Farm may never experience the devastation the Fords faced. But you can be as well prepared for the unexpected as they were—by regularly reviewing your management plan.
Ready to get started but don't know where to start? Then visit our Review your plan resources.