Don’t cut without consultation


LONDON, Ohio – When tackling a new challenge, getting advice from someone more experienced can be the key to success.
And that’s exactly what coordinators had in mind when they developed Call Before You Cut, a new program designed to help woodland owners get in contact with professional foresters and master loggers before harvesting trees.
Most people don’t buy woodlands with the intent of harvesting timber, according to Dave Apsley, Ohio State University Extension forestry specialist. In fact, only 1 percent of Ohio woodland owners say they purchased a woodlot specifically for the timber.
However, statistics show 40 percent of woodland owners have harvested their timber in the past five years. And just 18 percent of those owners got advice from a professional forester before the cutting began.
Call first. Call Before You Cut, which kicked off Sept. 19 at Farm Science Review, is aimed at protecting landowners. Experts can offer information on the value of trees, which ones should be cut and how the forest’s natural resources can be conserved during the harvest.
To use the Call Before You Cut program, woodland owners can call 877-424-8288. An operator will answer questions about locating an accredited forester. For a list of certified Ohio master loggers and suggested timber sale contract items, woodland owners can visit the Call Before You Cut Web site at
Call Before You Cut works with consulting foresters and ODNR Division of Forestry service foresters.
“Woodland property owners can yield greater financial and long-term health benefits from their wood by seeking expert advice,” said John Dorka, chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry.
When harvesting timber, it’s important for woodland owners to consider why they bought a forest in the first place, Apsley said. Whether it’s for a source of income, wildlife habitat, recreation or hobby, a professional forester can help ensure a timber harvest doesn’t interfere with the owner’s original goals.
Big decision. Harvesting timber is one of the biggest financial decisions a woodland owner can make. And the impact of the harvest can affect a forest for centuries, so it’s important to get some professional insight.
“They (woodland owners) think they’re making a $5,000 decision and it could be a $50,000 decision,” Apsley said.
The program originated in Appalachia Ohio several years ago through Rural Action. The organization’s leaders wanted to educate woodlot owners about the how to properly harvest their forests. The name of the program is a spin-off of the Call Before You Dig campaign.
The new statewide program is coordinated by Rural Action, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Ohio State University.
Benefits. Apsley said professional foresters will provide crucial advice that will protect the financial interests of woodland owners while conserving trees, wildlife and soil.
“Woodland owners often don’t have critical information before they contract someone to harvest their trees. Many don’t know how much their timber is worth, how many trees will be cut or even what their woods will look like after the job is done,” he said.
By getting advice before the cutting begins, Apsley said, woodland owners should be able to avoid erosion, damaged trees and poor profits.
Ohio’s forest industry brings in $15.1 billion for the state and employs more than 119,000 people, Speck added.
(Reporter Janelle Skrinjar welcomes feedback by phone at 800-837-3419, ext. 22, or by e-mail at


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