Landowners beware, there are several companies currently working this area who are misleading landowners in an attempt to purchase their standing timber. These timber buyers will often utilize tactics that infer forest management in an attempt to lend credibility to their services. They also utilize vague or misleading cutting parameters.
The most used and misunderstood is the phrase “I will only cut trees 16 inches or larger.” The 16 inch and larger language is very deceiving and almost always refers to the stump diameter. It is not understood that these parameters allow for the harvest of small trees given the stump flare at ground level. In fact, most trees 10 inches in diameter when measured at the standard measurement height of 4.5 feet above ground could and will be cut. In my opinion this language is intentionally given to make landowners believe that only the larger trees will be cut. It also gives the logger full discretion over the tree selection on the property. Most landowners do not realize this when signing this type of contract. If you area approached by a timber buyer, make sure at the vary least you know the number of trees you are selling. If the contract you are being presented does not contain the number of trees, species, method of payment, liability, time frame, and damage provisions, DO NOT SIGN IT !
Selling standing timber has long been a subject wherever trees of value grow. How trees are bought and sold can be as complex as any business transaction (you are selling a product or commodity). The quality of this commodity and in some cases the quantity of the commodity being sold will dictate the value of your trees. Competition, used to your advantage, will also have an influence on the value paid for your trees. While the value of a woodlot will vary depending on such factors such as size, quality, species composition, etc., a woodlot in good condition can have considerable value and can be managed to yield periodic income.
If you are contemplating selling some timber or if you are approached with an offer to buy some of your timber, don’t jump into an agreement too quickly. Taking the time to find out what you have to sell, then choosing the appropriate method of marketing will usually result in more income to the seller. In addition, selling timber and implementing forest management practices do not always mean the same thing. Cutting trees just because someone knocked on your door or sent you a letter is generally not a wise decision. It is better to take the time to evaluate what you have, what your goals and long term objectives are and ask yourself how will a timber harvest meet these goals and objective.