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Harvesting Your Timber: Vital Knowledge

Anyone who owns a sizable acreage with mature trees should know that harvesting those trees at some point can be very profitable. A mature woodland that has been managed properly can be an important financial asset and give the owner's bank account a huge boost when the timber is harvested. This article looks at some important aspects of timber harvesting that every forest owner should know.


Forestry experts separate trees ready for harvesting into different classes, depending on how they will be used by the timber industry. The most important classes are pulpwood, saw timber, and veneer. Trees designated as pulpwood are, as the name suggests, turned into wood pulp and ultimately used to make paper products. Sawtimber trees are of a higher designation than pulpwood. These trees are used to make lumber. Veneer trees are processed into thin sheets of wood at a mill and then used to make plywood or items of furniture.


The value of harvested timber depends on a wide range of factors, which can make it difficult for a landowner to determine the exact worth of their timber without the assistance of a professional forester. For example, the value of an individual tree will depend on its species, size, and quality. Certain species are more desirable to timber buyers than others and larger trees are generally worth more than smaller ones. Also, lower-quality trees that have defects such as knots or are not straight are worth less than higher-quality trees. The amount of timber that is harvested will, of course, impact the final price as well.

Costs related to harvesting your timber are also important. If a timber buyer must harvest on soggy land that makes it hard for their equipment to maneuver, for instance, the price they offer for your timber could be affected.

A key factor in the value of any timber is market conditions. Market prices for timber and lumber are constantly changing and will be factored into any offer you receive.


You have several options when it comes time to sell your timber. The best choice for most private woodland owners is getting written bids from timber buyers in your area, according to the Ohio State University Extension. You, or a representative, such as an agent who is a professional forester, will contact buyers in your region and give them all of the relevant details about the sale including when they can inspect the trees. Make certain that you reserve the right to reject any bids you deem inappropriate.