Tree harvest; mix of species
I have about 4 acres of healthy, mature trees I think should be harvested. Of course, there are younger trees in the mix, and would think that they should be allowed to mature. That's an argument against clear-cutting, I guess. But I have no particular expertise to guide me on how this 'forest' should be managed. Can you consult, or recommend someone?
Washtenaw County Michigan
I am glad that you contacted eXtension regarding managing your woodlot and that you are concerned about your forest stewardship. I usually refer Michigan landowners to a Conservation District Forestry Assistance Program forester: (http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdard/20_Foresters_with_NO_Name_map_473642_7.pdf) for an initial consultation at no charge and then to a consulting forester who can follow through with a complete assessment, recommendations and, if desired, conduct a timber sale designed to meet the landowners' objectives. Unfortunately Washtenaw County does not have a Conservation District Forester. There are, however, a number of excellent consulting foresters in the area. Depending upon what you want done, they will charge a flat fee for a consultation or writing a management plan or charge a percentage (10-15%) of the timber sale revenue. Although your four acres may be too small to attract a commercial timber sale, if you have some large trees of highly desirable species you may have revenue to offset the cost of management.
You can find a list of consulting foresters who work in Washtenaw county at the American Consulting Foresters Association website at: https://www.acf-foresters.org. I have also attached a number of MSU Extension materials on timber management. You might also be interested in other materials on forestry at the MSU Extension Bookstore: http://shop.msu.edu/category_s/345.htm.