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In most areas of the United States, private landowners hold the key to forest and wildlife habitat conservation. Family forest owners own the largest portion of forests in America, accounting for 251 million acres. Only four percent of woodland owners have any kind of management plan for their land, despite the fact that nearly 50 percent have harvested trees from their property, and only 14 percent have received professional advice before harvesting.
The American Forest Foundation developed the MyLandPlan.org iapplication to reach America’s woodland owners with a simple, non-technical interface that guides them toward mapping and development of a land plan that considers wildlife, forest management and passing land along to future generations.
. . . at last a simple non intimidating software/internet program that lets the land owner feel like he or she has some control of the plan. - Douglas J. McLaren, Extension Forester, University of Kentucky
Selection of the Drupal open source platform was both a technological and philosophical choice. Drupal provided base "community" functionality at its core along with modules that got us a long way down the trail to a finished product. We rounded out the project with custom module development, some of which was contributed back to the Drupal open source community.
MyLandPlan.org is structured around the question, "What do you want to do with your land?" It offers five broad answers:
- Enjoy it
- Protect it
- Make it healthy
- Profit from it
- Pass it on
Site users are encouraged to set goals and pursue actions based on how they navigate and determine what they want to do with their land.
The ultimate goal of the site is to increase forest and wildlife conservation practices on the ground on family-owned woodlands throughout the nation. Site users are encouraged to report the number of acres they manage and track their activities on the site.