Management

The management goals of the Yale Forests are to provide educational, research, and professional opportunities for the faculty and students and to serve as an asset in the School’s investment portfolio. Faculty and students use the Yale Forests as a laboratory for teaching, management, demonstration and research. The Forests are also utilized for academic field trips, intensive internship and training programs, and workshops for professional and community organizations. While a member of the faculty serves as Director and a University staff member serves as the Manager, graduate students working as interns or coordinators carry out the bulk of the on-the-ground management and administration. The Yale Forests are maintained as working forests, which includes selling timber and non-timber forest products from the land.

The goals of the forests should be achieved within the context of sound, defensible land stewardship:

1. To provide a hands-on, working forest laboratory for teaching.
2. To serve as a permanent, fully owned site for scientific research, especially that which extends over several decades.
3. To serve as a sustainable financial asset in the School's investment portfolio.
4. To maintain the overall integrity and health of the forest ecosystem dynamic.
 

Management Objectives

Specific objectives for the Yale Forest System

1. The forest ecosystem dynamics paradigm is used in formulating management decisions.

Requirements for this objective

a. The impact of both experimental and non-experimental management on the ecosystem as a whole must be considered in decision making. Many activities will have effects (either positive or adverse) on different aspects of the ecosystem. These effects will influence the future use of the land for instruction and research and should be considered.

b. No activity should knowingly eliminate a species from the Yale Myers Forest. The presence of small populations of particular species of plant or animal may result in either a preserved area where no active management takes place or areas with special management measures or restrictions to protect the species.

c. No management practices should include activity in areas where a positive future benefit is unlikely to result. Some areas are better left alone rather than actively managing them for no apparent gain.

2.  All faculty members of the School should be able to use the Yale Forest System for any instruction or research which can be carried out on New England forestland.

Requirements for this objective

a. A variety of stand conditions across a variety of topographic and soil conditions. This includes a variety of age classes, species composition, vertical foliage distribution, and stem density. This variety is needed for plant and tree studies as well as wildlife studies requiring different habitats.

b. Large and replicated tracts of treated (manipulated) stands spanning a variety of topographic and soil conditions. Many disciplines require large (50-200 acres) of each treatment, or resultant stand structure. These disciplines include: hydrology, forest ecology, wildlife biology or management, recreation, and engineering/economics.

c. "Normal" working forest conditions. It is easier either to discuss special cases in the classroom or in conjunction with a field trip. We need to provide many examples of intelligent, but typical management situations so that our students can better understand the role and significance of special cases. An exception to this requirement is when faculty members feel that certain special cases of stands or management techniques do not exist on other land. When this occurs we should strive to use a small part of our own forest for this comparison. Given the acreage constraints of our own land we should try to use existing special cases on other land whenever possible.

d. Flexibility. Research ideas and funding possibilities sometimes arrive with little lead-time. It is imperative that we maintain flexible forest conditions and working plans to accommodate a large range of research needs. Large amounts of land with abnormally high or low amounts of certain species (either plant or animal) or abnormal stand or habitat structures that can not be quickly restored should not be maintained unless the situation is truly unique and does not exist on non-Yale land available for research. Maintaining non-unique, but unusual situations which can not be rapidly changed over large areas limits the use of our land to a small number of specialized research opportunities. Special situations should be created in response to an existing or potential research need that a specific faculty member or faculty group wants to explore rather than general anticipation by faculty members not likely to be involved in the research.

d. Historic documentation. Records need to be kept such that all management activities and changes in forest structure are documented.  Stand and compartment histories are frequently needed for research studies. Documentation includes quantitative data, written descriptions, maps, and photos. Copies of all reports and research papers covering work conducted on the forest should be maintained. Monitoring and inventory data should be collected in a cost efficient manner to the specifications of individual faculty members who need or want the data. Faculty members that request this type of data need to be directly involved in the collection and analysis. They should also provide a copy for the use of others of any analysis that is performed. All records should be maintained in a manner that makes them readily accessible to any faculty member who needs them.

e. Willingness to experiment. High priority needs to be given experiments which involve treatments that are not readily accepted among working professionals. Whenever possible these experiments should be confined to small areas of land so as not to conflict with other uses needed by other faculty members. Experiments using innovative, unorthodox techniques are seldom welcome on other people's land. These experiments need to be carefully supervised by specific faculty members who either have the required expertise themselves or have a working relationship with another researcher who does. Responsibility for the maintenance and consequences of these experiments should rest with the specific faculty member involved, but most not jeopardize the long-term condition of the forest.

f. Destructive sampling cannot be discouraged. Many times instruction or research can be enhanced by the destructive sampling of trees, other plants, or animals. This activity is often impossible or difficult on other people's land.  Any destruction should be justified as necessary to meet the instruction or research needs of the faculty member, must not interfere with the existing needs of another faculty member, must not jeopardize the long-term condition and objectives of the forest and must be carried out in accordance with all laws and University and School Forest guidelines and regulations. Large-scale destructive experiments requiring more than several hundred acres would be difficult to accommodate given the multiple objectives of the School Forest System.

g. Whenever possible students should be included in meeting faculty member objectives. The instructional potential of the Forest will be enhanced if students are used in faculty work and faculty members supervise student projects within their own areas of expertise.

h. Facilities be maintained (or constructed) only as dictated by instructional or research needs. Money should be allocated to buildings (including classrooms, living areas, laboratories, and storage space) when necessary. Given the difficulty of maintaining structures away from New Haven, temporary solutions should be explored before the construction of permanent facilities.

3. It should be possible for any faculty member of the School to use the Yale Forest System to develop or practice professional management expertise.

Requirements for this objective

a. Management activities conducted in a professional manner. The "working forest" character of the forest should be maintained. All operations should follow normal business and legal constraints. Whenever possible we should avoid employing special legal exemptions and unusual financial benefits given to universities of our type so that management experiences on our land are applicable to other ownerships.  Care must be taken, however, not to set any legal precedents that might adversely affect other University activities.

b. Association with landowners and organizations devoted to forested land management. Management of our land needs to be carried out in association with other landowners. It is important that faculty wanting management experience understand which practices are commonly accepted and which are different and perhaps innovative. It is also important for other land managers to see and understand management practices on our land so that faculty can obtain feedback and input concerning practical implementation.

c. Non-experimental management practices be conducted without the influx of external capital. As a faculty we should practice management in a "real" sense. Although the Forest as a whole may have an operating deficit because of the research and instruction components of the objectives, fundamental management (not necessarily specific practices) should be at least "break-even."

4. All faculty members of the School should be able to establish research plots (either long or short term) without fear that the study will be destroyed before completion.

Requirements for this objective

a. Faculty members discuss their research needs with the Director before establishing plots. It is important that the location, expected duration, and needs of studies be coordinated between competing uses.

b. Plot locations be marked and mapped for use of all faculty. Long-term security is based on knowing the location and purpose of each plot.

c. Management changes (including land sale) which affect the integrity of an ongoing research project are only made when the best interests of the entire School are at issue. If a faculty member responsible for a research project feels that the Director or the Dean is instigating a change in land use or management that will adversely affect the project he or she may appeal to the BPO of the School to prohibit this change.

5. The total value of the Yale Forest System should be caused to continue to rise.

Requirements for this objective

a. The forests must be managed in a way to return a generally positive cash flow to the School. Although increase in value is based on a combination of land value, growing stock value, and cash flow, some of the increase should be captured for annual return.

b. When unusual circumstances occur attempts to "lock in" the return should be explored. This is especially true in terms of short-lived market conditions for certain products. It could also include transactions such as the sale of development rights during high real estate markets. Land ownership should be maintained and outright sale of land avoided.

c. Inventory estimates be made on a regular basis. Reliable estimates of all products (and potential products) with a monetary value should be made when necessary. A major assessment should be made every ten years and an interim assessment should be made after five years.

d. The possibility of decreasing growing stock should not be dismissed. Given the present and changing age structure of a maturing forest, prudent financial management might include a decrease in growing stock at some time in the future.

6. The Yale Forest System should represent a source of financial flexibility for the School.

Requirements for this objective

a. Cash flow options determined annually for subsequent five-year period. Options for both sales and costs for the immediate future should be presented to the Dean each year for the School's fiscal planning.

b. Opportunities for investment should be determined each year along with expected rates of return. Money can be invested in forest management (such as stand tending and roads) which will result in a short-term deficit, but a long-term gain. These opportunities can be important to the School in years of budget surplus.

c. Efforts should be made to reduce financial risk of unusual events such as storms or disease. The product mix should include enough diversity that flexibility can be retained in times of disaster. The Director should also stay informed of information that would lead to better predictions of disasters. The overall financial exposure to different types of risk should be determined on a regular basis.

7. The School should make information available to the public regarding current activities on the Yale Forest System.

Requirements for this objective

a. Each year a brief written description of current activities on the Yale Myers Forest be prepared and made available to the School. This report should be a short, accurate portrayal of all management activities on the Forest. The report should be given to the Dean.

b. The Director should be available to answer more detailed public questions. It is important that every effort be made to disseminate information and that the public not assume that we have "hidden" operations or intentions.

c. A conscious effort should be made to educate the public and the profession of forestry about research findings on the School Forests. We will do this through seminars, published literature, a newsletter and demonstration areas.

8. The Yale Forest System should be available to researchers and faculty outside of the School.

Requirements for this objective

a. All outside activities coordinated through the Director. Activities by people not part of the faculty of this School should not interfere with our own activities.

b. Copies of reports and papers generated from work on the Forest kept on file. A direct benefit to the School by outside work is access to the findings.

c. Costs (including administrative) to the School for the activities of outsiders should not exceed benefits. This should be interpreted very liberally. Benefits include returns that are difficult to quantify such as information. Likewise costs should include factors such as restrictions placed on other activities in the Forest. Every effort should be made to collect direct and indirect costs from research projects on the Forest.

d. Efforts should be made to make the opportunity of work on the Forest known to potential users. It is important that the possibility of doing work on this Forest be generally known to others. General communication should be the result of professional relationships between our faculty and colleagues in their discipline.

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