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Timber Stand Management – Part 1


Part 1:    Selecting a Timber Manager


Many landowners and property managers are faced with making decisions about managing their forest or timber. Whether it’s deciding whether to plant trees, what kind of trees, when to thin, harvest, full harvest etc. the list goes on and on. This can be a very confusing and if done wrong costly process. However, if done properly can be very beneficial to the landowner and property manager.

Timber stand improvements can be very lucrative to wildlife and can often offset the cost of purchasing recreational property. But doing it correctly is essential to maximizing your profits and maximizing the benefit for wildlife.

Over the next few posts we will look at best practices for maximizing your opportunities when considering timber stand improvements.

The first step in this process is to hire a good reputable timber manager. This is someone who is trained in forestry, understands the industry and the process. A word of caution here, there are many people who claim to know about when to harvest and manage trees. This for many is their largest investment, take your time and interview a good timber manager. They are working for you to help you reach the full potential of your investment. Using a reputable company or individual is worth the effort needed to find and locate a good timber manager.

Some of the items to look for in a good timber manager are; reputation, ask neighbors who they use, ask for recommendations from neighbors or friends. Seek references from potential candidates. Follow through on these references. Next, make sure the timber manager is someone who will listen to what your goals are and if needed help you in developing a plan based on these goals. (More about plans in the next post). Make sure this person will understand what you are trying to obtain through the relationship. For example, if your main goal is generating income to reduce your debt on the land your approach in thinning, harvesting and planting will be very different from someone who is looking to diversify his forest to maximize wildlife habitat. As the land owner, you need to make sure you are on the same page with one another. Building good communication from the beginning is essential. Some reputable companies in the Carolina’s and Georgia are; Milliken Forestry, Palmetto Environmental Consulting,  Westvaco, etc. Again, I have found it true especially with the larger companies, if you and the individual assigned to you don’t see eye to eye, politely ask for another representative of that company to represent you in your process.

If there was ever one piece of advice given about land managers, timber managers, and the like it is this. As the land owner, they work for you. Often land owners get intimidated by the experts they are relying on for advice and don’t consider all of their options. If you are not completely happy with your timber manager or land manager, get another one. Land is a huge investment for most property owners, it isn’t worth the risk to possibly make bad decisions about your property.