The process begins with an initial discussion of goals and exchange of ideas for your woodland. Once you have given permission to proceed, I will analyze your woods and devise the best plan for the type of timber you have. All species are distinct, and different woodland types are handled differently. I will then begin to mark the harvest trees in paint, taking into account spacing and what is most suitable for the next generation of trees. Harvest trees are measured and their volumes are estimated in board feet. Once the tally is complete, a spreadsheet is put together which includes number of trees marked, species, and approximate volume. The approximate value will be included in your timber cruise estimate. We will review your estimate face to face, agree on terms, and finalize the contract before any trees are cut. Sometimes all it takes is twenty high quality trees to make a worthwhile sale. Do not hesitate to call--consultations are completely free.
Before and After
I am often asked the question, "what will the woods look like after the harvest is complete?" My answer, is that every woods is different, and therefore looks a little different after every harvest. Pictured above is a pre-harvest and post-harvest of a typical upland maple thinning. Size of the trees plays a large part in how the woods looks after a selective harvest. Large trees have larger crowns and leave more material behind. I take great care in safely dropping the trees by hand in order to save the next generation of trees, as well as preserving the value of the tree I am currently harvesting. Yes, there is some woody debris that is left after a select harvest is completed, but once you look up, you will see the forest that will continue to grow for generations. The woody debris is only temporary and some of it can even be utilized as firewood. The rest will deteriorate and replenish the soil.
All trees are directionally felled by hand with a chainsaw. This allows nearly complete control of the direction of each tree to protect the valuable tree being harvested, while still preserving the residual stand for the next generation. I have nine years experience hand cutting in a production setting, and twenty years of tree falling experience. I am often asked how I am able to drop such large trees through the canopy with minimal damage. It comes down to time at the stump. Of course there is always some residual damage during a large scale timber harvest, but I take great efforts to minimize it. Once the tree is on the ground, it is bucked (cut) at different lengths according to defects. Fewer defects such as old limb scars and bends in trees mean higher financial returns. The art of bucking for grade and this type of attention to detail only comes with time.
Forwarding the wood
After the logs have been bucked, they are forwarded out to the landing. Here the logs are laid out for buyers to scale, or stacked for log trucks to pick up. Great care is taken to not rut the ground during wet conditions. Best Management Practices, or BMPs, are followed according to SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) and state standards regarding ground conditions and waterways. Continuing education and personal development are key in maintaining SFI Certification annually. Harvesting takes place year round, as long as ground conditions and equipment allow. I appreciate the importance of maintaining the integrity of the soil for new trees to properly take up nutrients and the forest to thrive.
Sale of Logs
Once the logs are laid out on the landing, they are often sorted by grade and species. This gives the potential buyer an opportunity to measure and value the logs. I have a network of buyers who will scale and grade the logs and submit their bids. The current market value of timber is vital to making decisions when selling logs. Presentation is also key. A well manufactured product with few defects may bring a higher value then a poorly manufactured log.
Copies of sale slips will be supplied along with a final actual tally and payment at the end of harvest.
Once a bid has been accepted and logs have been purchased, trucking arrangements are made. Typically hauling is done by self-loading log trucks (seen here) owned by the company or mill purchasing the logs. I will be in contact with you directly to let you know when a bid has been accepted, and as each load is hauled. I believe communication is key throughout the entire process. Feel free to ask questions at any time.