As a forester, I sometimes drive by private properties and see scenes that could be straight out of the move The Lorax. I wonder if the landowner consciously allowed the logging practice or if they just didn’t know any better. So here are some tips to have logging operations done as sustainably and profitably as possible for the landowner.
- Consult with a state forester before harvesting your property. They can help you set long-term goals for your property and harvest trees in a way that supports your goals for your property.
- Get bids from multiple logging companies to get the best price for your property. Get at least three bids.
- Mark the trees you would like to harvest yourself or have someone who knows trees well and that you trust do so.
- When marking the trees, also make sure you put paint at the base of the trees so once they are cut, you can make sure they only cut the trees that were marked, because you will be able to see the paint on the stumps.
- Make sure to have a signed contract between you and the logging company. This will lay out the specifications of how you want the logging to occur and how payments to you will happen.
- Make frequent visits to your property while they are harvesting your timber. This ensures the accountability of the loggers and makes sure they are following the specifications that you set forth.
- Make sure your property boundary is clearly marked and make sure the loggers know where your property is and where your neighbor’s property starts.
Photo by Crystal Bailey.
- High grade the trees on your property. This operation, which has been done for centuries in this country, means to harvest the best trees and leave the rest. This means taking trees that are tall and straight and leaving trees that have poor form. While this can make you more money in the short term, it degrades the genetic quality of the trees. If trees with poor form are left, they create seeds for the next generation, and over time the trees will decrease in quality. So, take care to not just take the best quality of trees.
- If you have creeks, rivers, or ponds on your property, do not allow logging right up to these bodies of water. It can cause erosion, and if the trees are removed that allow shade over the bodies of water, it can change the temperature of the water and can make the water less desirable for fish or any aquatic species. Leave a 30-100 foot buffer around the creek, river, or pond.
- Do not allow heavy logging machinery in wet areas, as it may cause large ruts.
If you are considering logging on your property, and this information is overwhelming, the best advice I can give is to seek advice from a state forester first before logging on your property. They can offer property management advice. Also, remember that there are some really good forest management resources online to gain more information. University websites with forestry programs often have great information as well as state forestry department websites.