Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Good Advice before planning a timber harvest

Guest blogger Dave Schott has been employed with the SWCD since March of 1998 and is currently the Technician and Forest/Wildlife Specialist for the Monroe SWCD in Woodsfield, Ohio.  He served the Guernsey SWCD in the past.
WOODSFIELD, Ohio — A few months ago I wrote an article about timber sale contracts. Since then I have had a few people call and stop me on the street and say how much they enjoyed the article and how it helped them to prepare for future timber sales on their property, or they wished they would have seen my article before they had their timber cut.
A few of the people have asked me, “Is there anybody out there available to help them make sure everything goes right on my next timber sale?”
There are many types of foresters available out there for landowners to use. Basically, you have foresters that work for the ODNR Division of Forestry. They are referred to as “service foresters.”  You also have some county Soil and Water Conservation Districts that employ “forest technicians or forestry specialists.” You have industry foresters, who are employed by larger, forest-based industries/companies that are privately owned.
Then you have “consulting foresters.” These guys and gals are professional foresters who are self employed or work for a private consulting companies.
Service Foresters  ODNR service foresters and SWCD forest technicians/specialist can be very helpful with providing technical assistance on instructing you with your long-term forestry management goals, tree plantings, woodland improvements, timber marketing assistance, and the needs for the overall health of your forest.
Service foresters and SWCD forest technicians/specialist can schedule an appointment with you to walk your woods and give you an idea on what some of the things that can be done on your property to help improve your forest.They can also point out your invasive species you may have on the property that need controlled. Their services are free of charge.
These two types of foresters do not monitor timber sales because of the amount of time they are allotted to spend with landowners. These two types of foresters are the only two professional forester contacts for many woodland owners to go to.And in most cases the service forester is the only contact for people because not all county Soil and Water Conservation Districts have a forest technician/specialist on staff.
Industry foresters are the other type of foresters available to landowners. They are employed by either a logging company, paper mill, or sawmill. They are mainly responsible for procuring wood fiber for their employer and/or managing company owned lands.Some may provide forestry services to landowners like forest resource management recommendations, timber harvest planning, and tree planting advice.
Consulting forester  The last type of forester available out there are referred to as consulting foresters. Consulting foresters provide basically the same assistance as an ODNR Division of Forestry service forester or Soil and Water Conservation District forest technician/specialist can. The only thing different is they charge a fee for their services. They can also mark timber and sell timber for landowners.
When marking timber for a landowner they will charge an hourly fee. If they mark and sell the timber along with advertising the timber and managing the actual sale from start to finish they will charge a percentage. This is usually 10 percent of the gross sale.Some consulting foresters will actually cut grapevines, cut invasive species, do crop tree release, and even cull tree removal.
Self management  Some of you may be thinking that you don’t need a forester and that you can sell or manage your timber yourself. Some of you probably can. However, for the landowner that has no experience in timber management or timber sales, a good starting point for them would be to contact a forester.
By contacting that forester you don’t necessarily need to hire them for their services right off the bat. You might just need to pick their brains for a few questions you might have concerning your woodlot.You can contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District to locate your service forester for that area. Visit or ask the district if they have a forestry specialist or forest technician on staff.You can also get on the Ohio Society of American Foresters website at

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