Call Before You Cut

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Published on: May. 2, 2009

Last revision: Dec. 13, 2010

but it’s at the expense of the forest’s future potential and health.

A properly conducted harvest removes trees of all sizes, ages and quality, leaving many desirable trees while promoting the growth of high-potential younger trees. A well cared for forest provides sustainable woodlands that increase in quality, health and value over time.

Once you and the forester have identified the harvest area and worked out the details of the sale, it’s best to develop a harvest plan. The plan should clearly lay out the location of log landings and their treatment, as well as the location of haul roads and skid trails. It should also specify how the trees are to be cut, and the treatment of the logging slash. A good plan will protect the aesthetics, water quality and soil resources of your woodland.

After opening the bids, you and your forester should meet with the logger selected in order to discuss details of the timber sale. The harvest plan will help guide the logger’s activities, but you should make sure that all parties are in agreement about the terms of the sale and how it is to be conducted.

A written contract between the landowner and the logger protects the interests of both parties and is essential to a successful timber sale. The contract should specify how the trees are to be cut, the method and timing of payment, the amount of performance bond and numerous other details, such as defining the sale period and the treatment of damages.

You or the forester should periodically monitor progress and adherence to the contract specifications while the timber harvest is in progress. You want to make sure that living trees that are not part of the sale remain undamaged and that the logger stops working during wet weather so that the equipment doesn’t create deep ruts in roads and skid trails.

When the timber harvest is complete, the forester should inspect the harvest area to make sure Best Management Practices to prevent soil erosion have been properly installed, that roads and log landings have been rehabilitated to conditions called for in the contract, and to make sure remaining trees are not damaged.

Receiving your payment from the timber harvest and returning the performance bond concludes the timber sale, but there are often post-sale activities that need to be completed before a timber harvest is truly finished. For example you might need to cut small trees that are not to be a part of the future forest or remove trees damaged during the logging operation. Further work on roads might be necessary, and post-sale is one of the best times to think about improving wildlife habitat.

Managing your woodland can be a rewarding and profitable activity which will enhance its health and productivity, and your enjoyment. A timber harvest can start a new chapter in the history of your woods by removing mature trees, allowing younger trees to grow freely and new trees to start growing. Protect your woodlands for future generations. The best way to begin to manage your forested land is to seek advice from a professional forester. Call Before You Cut!

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