Well Planned Timber Management
One of the many benefits of owning forestland in Vermont is the potential for economic return. Well planned timber management can deliver periodic income while maintaining and enhancing the forest resource. Long Meadow Resource Management can help landowners achieve long-term land management goals with an eye toward economic viability.
How Much is my Timber Worth?
It is hard to generalize how much income a timber sale will generate. Every Vermont property is different - extreme variability occurs in species composition, timber quality, logging access, terrain, and landowner goals. Depending on these and other factors, income generated form a timber sale can vary greatly. Each harvest is individually planned, evaluated, designed and executed to meet the specific needs of each property.
Steps to a Successful Timber Sale
While each timber sale is different, below are common steps taken during the timber sale process:
- An evaluation of the timber resource is made. This is typically done through the management planning process, such as a Current Use plan. A management prescription is created based on landowner goals, timber resource, professional recommendations and other management factors. When this evaluation is completed, an estimate of net income to the landowner from a timber sale can be determined.
- The job to is shown to potential loggers. The goal is to match the right logger and equipment to the planned timber sale in order to produce the best outcomes.
- A timber sale contract is created between the landowner and the logger. The contract will include language that clearly details stumpage prices, logging practices, insurance requirements and other items. The contract generally includes provisions for a performance bond to be posted by the logger, which ensures compliance with the contract.
- The logger prepares a “landing”, which is an area to gather the logs and get them ready to be loaded on a truck. This is usually a one to two-acre area carefully located to maximize operational efficiency and limit impacts.
- Logging road are laid out to best access the timber to be harvested. Existing woods road are used as much as possible to limit the impact of creating new skid trails.
- Tree marking paint is utilized to select trees that are to be removed. Many considerations go into which tree to select, including species, health, quality, wildlife features, minimal felling damage, releasing regeneration, making room for growth on healthy trees, etc.
- The logger starts cutting and hauling trees to the landing. As materials accumulate, items such as sawlogs and firewood get trucked out and sold. Trip tickets are used to track materials hauled off the site.
- Checks are sent to the landowner once materials get sold. Copies of all mill receipts are available to the forester, logger and landowner.
- Site visits are conducted to inspect the logger’s work. Items covered during the inspection include compliance with cutting the trees that marked, damage to residual trees, loads shipped and sold, potential erosion and the like. The site visit is often combined with continued tree marking in the planned harvest area.
- When the cutting is finished, the logger completes closeout of the logging roads and landing so that impacted areas can be stabilized. This includes instillation of waterbars on any sloping road sections in order to comply with Vermont Acceptable Management Practices (AMP).
- When the job is finished, a final inspection is conducted. If the contract has been completed to the satisfaction of myself and the landowner, the contract performance bond is returned to the logger.