In the past, one funding source may have paid for a project that
had benefits to more than one resource area. With declining budgets
that may be less feasible. If projects have multiple benefits, consider
if it is possible to use multiple funding sources or people from different
resource areas to help in accomplishing the work. This approach will
be most successful if involvement by others is initiated early in
the planning stages.
It may be possible to add heterogeneity to a unit without spending
a lot of extra time on planning or layout if you use a combination
of uniform methods and methods which increase random assignment of
treatment. For example, varying size of opening to be created or species
to be planted could be done by pacing on a grid and then at the grid
point shaking dice, pulling tokens out of a pocket, or using a handheld
computer to select treatment size, shape, or species. We have successfully
done this operationally with several people involved and it worked
there will be more than one thinning entry into the stand, the first
entry might be keyed into laying out openings on N:S lines and the
next entry on E:W lines. Although it is important to reuse roads and
landings, it may still be possible to add variation into a treatment
just by deliberately changing the orientation of treatment layouts.
When consistent with the project objectives, consider ways to vary
spacing or species without a lot of pre-planning. For example, it
may be possible to give some members of a crew marking trees for a
timber sale different marking guidelines from others or give tree
planters different mixes of species in the planting bag. Rather than
vary the size of openings (or spacing for a thinning) within a particular
project, another approach would be to select one size opening (or
spacing) for each project but vary the target from project to project
so each one was internally consistent. If you keep prescriptions for
small areas fairly simple it may help minimize the effort involved
in setting up and monitoring contracts.
It has been suggested that you can vary prescriptions by using easy
ways to break up a unit. For example, if you know about how many trees
can be painted with a can of paint, it may be possible to develop
guidelines for in-house crews such as "mark this area to spacing
X by X until the can you are using runs out, then switch to another
spacing or add openings". Or "mark using this prescription
or guideline until noon, then switch to this one". Although this
approach to project layout takes getting used to, it may be a cost-effective
way to increase variability in on-the-ground activities without a
lot of detailed planning.
Or, instead of using arbitrary breaks such as a paint can or time
for lunch, consider using natural breaks such as streams, ridges or
roads to delineate units for a treatment or portion of a treatment.
This will allow the area of the treated unit to be determined without
When planning variable treatments such as openings within a stand,
plan to use round areas as much as possible as they are much easier
for one person to lay out in the field.
Don't underestimate employees or contractors, many can accomplish
multiple tasks on a site so different parts of a project don't have
to be laid out or contracted differently. This may initially take
some training, field trips, extra work with people or just a different
way of thinking about a project. It is important to explain the purpose
of the job rather than concentrate on specifications.
Consider using simple flagging codes for projects with different
aspects so that for example, the type of flagging (solid vs. striped
vs. dotted) means one thing and the color means something else. We
used this on a project where the type of flagging indicated the size
of the opening to be created and the color indicated which species
or group of species was to be planted.
how the use of new technology and tools might increase efficiency.
For example, it may be possible to use low elevation photography or
GPS to identify possible cut or leave spots on one field visit, then
decide in the office how many, what size, or which ones to select
and produce a map in GIS. This might be much more efficient than using
one field visit to look at the area, then plan in the office, followed
by another field visit to flag areas, and then hand-draw maps of locations.
Stratify the cruise needed to determine the volume to be offered
in a timber sale by the types of prescriptions used. Consider if areas
which represent a small portion of the likely volume need to have
the same accuracy as areas which represent a larger portion (depending
on your employer, there may not be much flexibility in how the cruising
work is done).
Consider if centers of activities rather than boundaries can be
flagged. Or even if they have to be marked on the ground or if marking
on a map or photo would be sufficient.
Be prepared for the people who will be implementing the work not
to understand what you want done when it is a new job. Consider setting
up a demonstration area or mark a small portion of the area with more
flagging/paint/string than usual to make your intentions clear.
Use as many information sources as possible when starting new practices.
Talking with co-workers, going to workshops and on tours, reading
technical publications and newsletters, and surfing the internet can
all be productive ways to add to your information base.