Tom Anundson, Dave O'Barto, and Pat Hulle, Consulting Foresters
1. We heard that the timber market was bad and prices were down. Is that true?
Timber prices fluctuate seasonally, and species-specific prices rise and fall. Timber is generally more valuable during the dormant months, when the water is out of the trees (the wood changes color). However, we offer their timber buyers up to a full 18 months to remove your trees. Why? Well, it helps offset the fluctuations, and also they want to be able to control when loggers are working on your property to be sure conditions are good.
2. Who exactly do Tom, Dave and Pat work for?
They work STRICTLY for you—the private forest landowner. They are your foresters working to protect your interests. They are here to help you avoid the pitfalls associated with harvesting timber and managing forest resources.
3. How long is our contract with you as our forester?
A consulting agreement lasts only as long as the timber sale contract between you and your timber buyer. Some foresters require long-term contracts, but Dave and Tom feel they are unnecessary because they want to establish a long-term relationship based on trust. When it is time to harvest your timber again they want to be the ones you hire again, so they strive to do a good job the first time.
4. How long will it take to sell our timber?
It depends on many variables, but generally within weeks of getting the timber marked.
5. We only own a few acres. Are you interested?
Generally, at least five acres are necessary to perform a timber harvest, although sales can be administered on as little as one acre. The timber must be large, good quality, and densely distributed on small acreage tracts to make it feasible.
6. I have a huge black walnut (or cherry, oak, etc.) tree in my yard, can I sell it?
Probably not. Very few timber buyers are interested in just a tree or two. The main reason for this is it is expensive to move a machine in to remove the tree, and then pay for the trucking costs. In this case, it usually costs the homeowner to have the tree removed.
7. How big do trees have to be before they are timber-size?
A good rule of thumb is this: Take a 42" string and wrap it around the trees on your property at chest height--if the trees are smaller than the string the trees are probably too small for a commercial harvest. BUT, remember, your forest may still benefit from other thinning treatments, like timber stand improvement (TSI).
8. We are very worried that harvesting trees will destroy our property. Will it?
A properly managed harvest can actually improve the health of the forest. Although logging is often unsightly while in progress, a careful plan combined with proper supervision and a thorough site retirement minimizes the overall impact. On strict management projects the site often looks better than it originally did within a year or two of the harvest. Remember: If you want to make an omelet you have to break a few eggs!
9. We have been considering a timber harvest, but are confused by the many stories we have heard.
We don’t want our property to look like a bomb destroyed it! Granted, some timber harvests look terrible. Often they are the result of a poorly managed project or the result of short-sighted planning or greed. But sometimes the “bad-looking” projects are actually different types of harvests used to re-establish trees, or for attracting some species of wildlife which require thick brushy areas. Your goals may be entirely different than your neighbor’s—foresters specialize in helping you achieve those goals.
10. Do you charge to visit our property?
No, the first meeting is always free to anyone considering having their timber harvested, and also to those considering any other projects Dave and Tom administer.
11. How long does the timber sale bid process take?
From the time Tom and Dave start marking the timber you can expect to have bids to evaluate within three weeks.
12. Who establishes our property lines?
Tom and Dave use computer programs and your deeds to lay out the property lines on topographic maps in advance of our marking the timber. If there are any problems finding the lines you will be advised of the specific problem areas and they will be avoided until you hire a licensed surveyor. More often than not the property lines can be located without error, thus saving the cost of a survey.
13. I can't afford a surveyor, and I know my lines are going to be hard to establish. What can I do?
Tom and Dave will pay for your survey, and will hire a registered surveyor on your behalf. The cost of the survey will then be deducted from the proceeds of your timber harvest. There is no up-front out of pocket money from you, and you can still realize an income from your forest.
14. Who prepares the timber sale contracts?
Dave and Tom will, on your behalf, and one of us is named in that contract as your supervisors of the project.
15. Do we need an erosion control plan?
Absolutely—it is required by the state. Tom and Dave prepare the plan and make it a part of your timber sale contract.
16. What do the marks you paint on trees mean?
Trees are marked on at least two sides with paint using long slashes (trees with value to be sold), X’s (cull trees—junk trees which will be felled to help better trees grow), G’s (trees which will be saw-girdled and killed and left standing as wildlife den trees), and three stripes (boundary lines). Also, they are numbered, by species, if those trees are of the highest quality on your property to help interested buyers prepare their bids.
17. Who establishes the trail system and log loading locations?
Dave and Tom do, in advance of any operations to remove the timber.
18. Will the tree tops and stumps be chipped up and hauled away?
No. Doing so is very costly and would eat up any of the proceeds from your timber sale. More important, though, is that the tops and stumps should be left to stabilize the soil, replenish the soil nutrients as they rot, provide shelter for nesting wildlife, and protect young tree seedlings from browsing deer.
19. How long will the logging take?
Depending on the weather, crews can cut and remove an average of about 25 mbf (thousand board feet per week). Dividing that number by your total sale volume will give you the number of days.
20. When do we pay for the forestry services?
Dave and Tom are paid when you receive your money and sign the timber sale contract with the timber buyer. There are no retainers or hidden costs. Some foresters charge extra for paint, mileage, office expenses, etc.—Dave and Tom’s fees are a flat rate percentage of the total sale price of your timber sale, and that rate covers ALL costs.
21. What type of equipment can we expect to see on our property?
Generally, most loggers use rubber-tired log skidders to drag logs. Some use bulldozers. And, either tri-axle log trucks or flat bed tractor-trailers will haul the logs away.
22. You said you use paint to mark the tree stumps.What keeps the loggers from painting more stumps?
There is a big difference between old and new paint. It is often months between when the marking is done to when they are harvested. Also, on management projects it is easy to determine which trees we intended to leave to grow. Timber theft rarely occurs because of the site inspections during operations, but also because the timber sale contract is so strict and prohibitive against theft.
23. What is the easiest way to contact a forester?
By telephone at the numbers listed on this website, or by e-mail. You can even text us! You will get a response within a day or two, and can expect a visit to your site within a few days from the first contact.