The process of developing a management plan can be summarized as shown in figure 2-1. The process begins by addressing two basic questions with respect to the resources being considered: What do you have? (assess the resource, identify trends and needs) and What do you want? (identify goals). These questions are interdependent and not necessarily answered in order. Landowners' overall goals will help shape the assessment process. For example, landowners that are not interested in timber harvest would not need specific information related to wood volume.
In the next step (How do you get what you want?), specific strategies are selected to achieve goals and objectives. Financial and regulatory constraints on possible strategies also need to be considered. Many management actions need to be carried out over long time periods and the order and timing of various actions may be critical. Develop a multiyear schedule to show how elements of the plan will be implemented over time.
The final step of the adaptive management process (Are you getting what you want?) involves monitoring and analysis. The outcome of various management strategies may vary with site conditions or other factors. Due to information gaps, it may be necessary to test management actions on an experimental basis. By tracking management inputs and outcomes over time, you can determine what works and what doesn’t and alter future plans accordingly.