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Forest Assessments and Tree Surveys

Many local and state jurisdictions require development projects to assess and evaluate tree cover on their sites in order to promote the conservation of forest land. Various types of forest stand delineations, forest conservation plans, and planting or mitigation plans may be required during the plan review process before approval of grading and/or site plans. Individual locality’s requirements may differ and ECS guides you through the process of effectively addressing these requirements to keep projects on track.

Forest Stand Delineations

A Forest Stand Delineation (FSD) or Existing Vegetation Map (EVM) is the first step in inventorying the existing conditions at a site so that potential impacts to forest cover, critical habitat, and other environmental factors may be assessed. The FSD/EVM is typically prepared and submitted to the locality at the earliest stages of a project and guides site plan development. Knowing what resources are present and protected under local regulations keeps project designers focused on evaluating alternatives early on.

Forest Conservation Plans

Forest Conservation Plans (FCPs) or Tree Preservation Plans (TPP) follow completion and approval of the FSD and essentially describe what steps are proposed to protect the resources identified during the FSD. Resources which require protection will vary based on the locality and regulations, but can include wetlands, high priority or exceptional value forests, waterways, steep slopes, or habitat for endangered species. The FCP provides information on the proposed project layout and development plan and relates those design elements to the proposed protective measures to meet the local regulatory requirements.

Mitigation Plans

The final step in the process is typically a mitigation plan for projects that impact forest resources where the regulations require mitigation. The mitigation approach can vary, but may include reforestation or planting trees where none were previously present (afforestation). Alternatively, impacted forest areas can be replanted elsewhere to compensate for the proposed impacts. ECS personnel will work with the site designers to provide practical and cost-effective mitigation strategies as needed, including assisting with planting plans that fit into the context and aesthetics of the project.

Please contact us if you have any questions about forest stand delineations and conservation plans.