Descriptions of Services

Forest Resource Management Serices

Boundary Location:  For many forest ownerships this service has to precede all others.  A good map is required for any inventory and planning work.  Accurate flagging or painting of lines is required before any marking or cutting can begin.  Where the location of boundaries is not known they should be surveyed.

Inventory:  The basis of all management planning, the inventory describes major species, heights and diameters, site indices, site characteristics, timber and cordwood volumes, and acreages for the various forest types on the property.  A stand type map and topographical overlay are included with the inventory.  Computer processing gives volumes for each species, tree grade, and diameter class in each stand type.  Accuracy of the inventory is largely a function of the number of sample points taken.  Extra points are more costly but the cost is justified on especially high value stands or when maximum return on investment is sought.

Appraisal:  Using the inventory as a basis, the forester assigns values by species, grade and size to each stand type to give a detailed picture of the present financial status of the forest.  Accuracy is again a function of the number of sample points taken. The appraisal is useful in purchasing and selling land and is essential for proper timber tax management (see below).

Management Plan:  Using the inventory and appraisal as a basis, and the landowner's objectives of management as guidelines, the forester plans operations for each stand in the forest to maximize the desired benefits from the forest.  Harvest cuttings, commercial and non-commercial thinnings, prunings, access road construction, and boundary work may all be called for.  Where different alternatives are possible they can be described and, if desired, analyzed by computer simulation of response to the management alternatives.

Timber and Cordwood Marking and Tallying:  Trees to be cut are marked with paint at breast height and low on the stump (as a control on the cutter).  Skid roads will be laid out to minimize damage to the forest soils and residual stands.  Trees to be cut for timber are tallied individually.  Cordwood/pulp trees are tallied individually or by sample points and area calculations.

Timber and Cordwood Sales and Supervision: The forester will solicit competitive bids from local loggers and lumber companies in order to secure the highest price for timber or he will negotiate the sale with a local buyer who will pay a competitive price and do a careful job.  The forester will administer the sale contract and hold a performance deposit in a dedicated account.  The forester will check the cutting operation periodically to see that the terms of the contract are being met.  Copies of cutting operation reports will be sent to the landowner and buyer.  State required cutting plans and notices of intent to cut will also be filed in advance.

Timber Stand Improvement:  Where unwanted trees are not saleable for cordwood (softwoods, or hardwoods with very difficult access), the forester will kill them by girdling.  Where lower and midstem branches on young trees prevent the growth of clear, knot-free wood on future crop trees, the forester will prune them off.  Justification of the expense will be shown by comparing discounted cash flows of the stand with and without the girdling or pruning.

Other Investment Opportunities:  Replanting is usually not necessary when harvests and thinnings are planned so as to leave seed trees of desirable species and light conditions on the ground favorable to their regeneration.  But where a seed source is lacking of desired species (e.g., black walnut, red oak, white pine), they can be planted.  Access roads are often a good investment, especially to highly productive stands where regular thinnings and harvests are anticipated.

Wildlife, Water Resource, and Aesthetic Management:  Good timber resource management does not normally conflict with wildlife habitat, water run-off, and aesthetic appeal.  In fact, careful thinnings and harvests should increase these other forest resources.  However, special wildlife plantings may be desired, or a forest ownership which feeds a municipal watershed may require special harvesting techniques, or areas of particular scenic value may require unusual treatment.

Agroforestry Plantings: Forest landowners who are interested in planting trees for food as well as timber production will be advised on the culture of nut, fruit, and mast trees suited to their land.  Special cultivars of named varieties may be obtained and planted.

Timber Tax Management Advice :  Most accountants are not familiar with the peculiarities of timber tax law.  The forester can provide information advising landowner and accountant on how to prepare bookkeeping for capital gains calculations, capitalization of investments, and deductions from current income of operating expenses.

Massachusetts Chapter 61 Use Value Assessment Classification:  Chapter 61 classification gives forest landowners an incentive to manage their forests by drastically lowering the assessed value of the land.  But the owner must pay an 8% yield tax to the town on forest products sold and have prepared a state approved management plan every ten years.  The forester can prepare the plan to state specifications and handle the application for classification.

Federal Government Subsides for Forestry Practices:  Government cost-sharing is currently available for management planning, timber stand improvement (girdling and pruning), tree planting, and many other practices.  The forester can determine eligibility for the various programs and facilitate the application procedure.