Land Stewardship and decision-making
Benefits and Responsibilities
As I’ve said, this blog (or website or whatever you call it) is dedicated to the person who has never really considered land as a viable investment – probably someone who has yet to experience a close connection to land, as we talk about it here: woodlands, farmland, etc. That’s not unusual – not at all – these days. A hundred years ago, that probably would not have been the case.
So, anyway, I’ll try to introduce terms, concepts, what-have-you that you hear in the business of landowners. Remember, I’m trying to sell you on the idea of investing in natural properties. I believe that the more you learn about this way of life, the more you will be attracted to it.
Today’s term is Stewardship – that aspect of land ownership that involves the responsibility of being the decision-maker.
They say that, at least in the U.S., one doesn’t actually own land. Rather, one owns a bundle of rights associated with the land. With that bundle of rights comes responsibility.
The decisions that a landowner makes
A great benefit of being a landowner is making the decisions, implementing them, and seeing the results. When it comes to the land, the trees, the water, the wildlife, and everything else, you get to decide what happens. Sure, there are limitations in play. But, largely, you make the choices. You have direct influence on what happens on that piece of land for the time that you own it. If you do it right, then it’s a responsibility well-met.
To do nothing is a decision just as much as the decision to make major changes. Many landowners decide to do basically nothing – leave the land as it is and enjoy it that way. Others choose to build a road, clear areas of timber or brush, plant open areas in trees, construct a pond, build a cabin, etc. Good stewards ensure that whatever choices they make are implemented in a professional manner, following best practices.
Land Stewardship – there is land management help available
There are professionals – foresters, building and/or excavating contractors, others – who are there to help. Countless day-seminars by state, county, university and other groups are available with tours, where you can see in person what others have done/are doing. With proper planning and working with professionals, and barring some unforeseen problem, you’ll be pleased with the outcome.
Of course, there are costs to bear and income to receive associated with each choice. We’ll get into the income side of things later. It’s an important benefit to owning land, to be sure, and it comes with its own set of responsibilities. ‘Shocker.
My point is that you both enjoy the privilege and bear the responsibility of your bundle of rights attached to the land. Hopefully, when your time comes to pass that bundle of rights on to the next owner (by sale, gift, inheritance, etc.), you’ll have left that piece of ground better than you found it. You’ll have moved the needle, made a positive difference.
That is what land stewardship is about.