BF 150: Farm Woodlot Management

Assessing the Economic Potential of a Managed Forest

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Assessing the economic potential of a managed forest

Woodlots are a common feature of most farms in the eastern US, and are often overlooked for the value they might bring to the landowner and to farm enterprises. Farmers and woodland owners need to recognize the potential values of their woodland resource, be familiar with common ways a woodland can add value, and identify how the woodland will support the interests of the owner.

During this course, we will examine the methods to assess forest resources and discuss common woodland activities such as cutting firewood, harvesting logs for mushroom cultivation, and support for wildlife and long-term forest health.

Target Audience

All levels, specific geographic region: Farmers and landowners who manage (or seek to manage) woodlands. Participants should have an interest in working the woods to improve their financial outcome and to ensure healthy trees with long-term productivity. No prior forestry knowledge required. This course contains some information specific to the Northeastern US, though it contains content broad enough to be relevant to anyone living in a humid temperate climate.

Course Objectives

As a result of this course you will be able to:

  • Make informed decisions, knowing what actions you can pursue and what activities you should contract through a forester
  • Describe the type, quality and potential of woodlands on a property
  • Connect attributes of the land to your interests and needs for common woodland products of value
  • Be able to select trees that can be grown for a future crop and remove trees useful for firewood


The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments in Teachable, our virtual classroom. To add to the experience, webinars will be woven into the online interface of the course for 6 weeks each Fall to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from presenters and ask questions in real time. If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing.


Recordings from Fall 2020 webinars are all posted for viewing in the course. The next live offering of this course will be Fall 2021.

Your Instructor

Peter Smallidge
Peter Smallidge

Peter Smallidge works for Cornell University through extension and applied research.Peter is the NYS Extension Forester and the Director of the Cornell University Arnot Teaching and Research Forest. These activities take him throughout the state serving woodland owners, maple producers, farmers/graziers, foresters, and others who manage woodlands.As Arnot Forest Director, Peter provides leadership for the production, management, research and extension activities working with a core of dedicated and capable county and campus colleagues.Peter also teaches NTRES 3250 – Forest Management and Maple Syrup Production for Cornell Students and BF150 – Farm Woodlot Management for students in Cornell’s Small Farms Program.

Peter coordinates ForestConnect, Cornell’s Forest Resources Extension Program, by providing leadership for education to enhance the sustainability and stewardship of private forest lands in New York.This program depends upon a close working relationship with CCE educators throughout the state.ForestConnect includes several activities, such as the monthly web conference, development of demonstration sites, writing and editing bulletins, and providing training for Cornell Cooperative Extension educators, foresters, forest owners and maple producers.

His applied research addresses sugarbush management, forest production, and vegetation management of native and invasive plant species. Land management systems studied include commercial forest production, woodlot management, sugarbush management and maple sap production, silvopasture, and integrated vegetation management using organic and/or chemical treatments. Peter has a B.S. in Forestry from Purdue University (1986) and a M.S. (1989) and Ph.D. (1993) in forest ecology from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse.

Course Curriculum

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course officially starts and ends on the dates given above, when the instructor gets involved and begins hosting live weekly webinars. If you are registering after the webinars have concluded for the year, you will have immediate access to all the course materials, and will be able to participate in the next year's webinars if you choose to.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 7 days and we will give you a full refund.

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