Have a plan before cutting timber

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Conducting a timber harvest can be a way to bring in extra income or a way to help manage your woods for specific goals.

Either way, it is almost always best to hire a consulting forester to conduct the timber sale.

Forest plan

It’s always a good idea to start with a Forest Management Plan for your property.

A consulting forester can write a management plan with your goals in mind, whether you are only managing your property for timber production or if you are managing it for wildlife and timber production.

In the plan the consulting forester will provide you with a description of your forest stand. They may group different areas of your forest into different forest stands by the age of the trees.

They will provide a description of the tree species in that area, as well as the size class of the forest stand, any previous management activities, and recommend management activities for that stand.

They will also provide aerial maps, soil maps, and a description of the soils on your property.

Work plan

The forest management plan will have a 10-year work plan, similar to an outline that you can follow, to help with your timber stand improvement practices.

Some common practices include wild grapevine control, invasive species control, crop tree release, and tree plantings.

These pre-harvest practices are intended to improve the overall quality and value of your timber stand.

Your forest management plan may also recommend doing a timber harvest in the near future. This is where having a consulting forester becomes an invaluable resource.

Consultants

Having a consulting forester conduct the timber sale can save you a lot of time, money, and headaches.

Consulting foresters will do a timber cruise where they will select and mark each tree that is to be cut for timber.

In order to improve the future timber stand, a partial timber harvest could be completed — concentrating on salvaging over mature, damaged, declining and low quality timber.

Trees being removed for thinning purposes should also be harvested at this time.

Consultants will make a list of all the species of trees to be cut, the total number of trees of that species, and the approximate number of board feet of each species.

They will then send this information, along with maps, a description of the site, and the terms and conditions of the sale to reputable logging companies to bid on.

Sale

Once bids are received, a logger will be chosen and a timber sale contract will be signed. This contract protects the landowner from misconduct or any problems during the timber harvest.

The consulting forester will monitor the timber harvest and make sure that all the terms and conditions of the contract are being followed.

He or she will also monitor the site for any erosion problems and make sure best management practice are being followed.

Once the timber harvest is complete, consultants will make sure the logging site is properly closed out.

Find a consultant

Using a consulting forester can make a timber harvest easier and ensure that timbering can continue on your property for generations to come.

A list of consulting foresters can be found at www.osafdirectory.com.

You can also call the Columbiana County Soil and Water Conservation District at 330-332-8732, and the Ohio Division of Forestry at 330-222-1486, for a list of consulting foresters and more information.

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Jason Reynolds is a wildlife/forestry specialist with the Columbiana Soil and Water Conservation District. He is a Columbiana County native and a 2010 graduate of Kent State University with a bachelor’s degree in conservation.

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