Sustainable Forest Management requires a thorough, integrated planning approach across different levels, hierarchies, and time frames. The core elements regulating forest management planning and implementation include;
General Harvesting Plan (GP)
A general Harvesting Plan (GP) is prepared by the Licensee and submitted to FDS for approval. The GP serves as the basis for the detailed planning of annual coupes and is numbered in the order in which they will be harvested. The GP is prepared on a Land and Survey contour map sheet with a scale of 1:50,000 scale based map. The GP shall depict the general coupe layout, the road network for the entire FMU and large landscape-level protection and/or conservation area i.e. As Forest Timber Licence Map A, buffer zones of a kilometre width adjacent to international boundaries and gazette Totally Protected Areas namely National Park, Wildlife Sanctuaries and Natural reserves.
Detailed Harvesting Plan (DP/RP)
Based on the approved GP, a DP shall be prepared for the individual annual coupe, which shall show the harvesting block layout and road network. The DP will be prepared with a map with a scale of 1:10,000 with contour intervals of not more than 30 m. It will display the block layout, existing logging roads, new road alignments to be constructed, protection and/or conservation areas. Alignment of the block boundary should follow the existing road and distinct natural features e.g. ridgelines, river, and the size of the blocks should be kept within 50 to 100 ha where possible, with a skidding distance less than one kilometre. The allocation of harvesting blocks to be worked is to be indicated and all logging roads and the blocks shall be numbered accordingly. The DP will be submitted to the FDS for approval.
- After the DP has been approved, the following activities can commence:
- the demarcation and survey of the coupe boundary
- the demarcation of the water catchment boundary, buffer zones and conservation areas;
- the survey alignment of roads on the ground, and
- the preparation of the surveyed road plan and profile drawings for the main and secondary road alignments.
Comprehensive Harvesting Plan (CHP) or Reduced Impact Logging Plan (RILP)
Planning for a harvest block is based on 1:5,000 topographic maps, after the approval of the DP by SFC, and each block will have a work map. During this planning stage, the FMU can commence with ground demarcation and mapping of the buffer zones, block boundaries, and areas identified for protection and conservation. Pre-felling inventory shall be carried out in the harvest block to identify and mark trees, both for harvest and protection, as well as to mark the positions of the trees to support skid trail alignment planning. The final skid trail alignment is marked on the Comprehensive Harvesting Plan (CHP).
During the implementation of general and operational plans amendments may become necessary to adapt forest operations to changes in prevailing conditions. These changes could be caused by new operational requirements, accidental omission or inaccurate data and information provided in previous plans (FDS 2020).
The Licensee shall request for plan amendments as soon as the need for changes has been identified. Applications shall be made in written form and must be supported by relevant documents (database, plan, map, etc.), giving sound reasons for the requested plan amendment. Field implementation of plan amendments is only permitted following written approval by FDS (FDS 2020).