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 Getting the Most Return From Your Timber Sale



Unless you choose to harvest your own timber, you will sell your trees to a buyer (usually a logger) who will be responsible for harvesting the trees, manufacturing the products, and then transporting those products. This type of timber sale is referred to as selling stumpage. How the trees are marked, how potential buyers are notified of your sale, how the buyer and sales price are determined (single offer, oral bid or negotiation, written sealed bids), and how payment is made (lump-sum vs. sale-by-scale or pay-as-you-cut) depends on the character of the individual sale. A professional forester's knowledge of your property, potential timber buyers, timber markets, and potential buyers' past performance is critical to selecting the appropriate timber sale method and buyer to maximize your income while protecting and enhancing the nontimber resources of your woodland.


  Protect Yourself and Your Property
With a Timber Sales Contract

Professional Foresters Protect the Landowner and the Forest by Negotiating a Timber Sales Contract That:

  • Identifies the responsibilities
    of all parties.
  • Specifies financial and other agreements.
  • Addresses issues of special concern.
  • Protects the interests of all parties to the contract.

Every timber sale, no matter how small, should have a written timber sales contract which details what the seller and the buyer have agreed upon. The process of negotiating the contract provides an opportunity for the seller and the buyer to discuss how the harvesting operation will occur and to identify and obtain clarification and agreement on areas of concern. This will substantially reduce the possibility of misunderstandings and disagreements and provide

both you, as the seller, and the buyer with legal protection as agreed to by the terms and agreements of the contract. There are many sample timber sale contracts available, and many timber buyers have a "standard" contract. You should, however, work with your forester to ensure that the contract addresses your concerns, meets your needs, and protects your rights. You may wish to have the document reviewed by an attorney.






Monitor the Harvest

The final step of a successful timber sale is to monitor the harvest.  Frequent visits should be made to ensure that the harvest is proceeding properly, according to the terms of the contract, and to discuss questions that might arise.  Again, because many of the activities associated with timber harvesting are unfamiliar to most woodland owners, monitoring the harvest is often best done with the assistance of a professional forester.  Aspects of a timber harvest routinely monitored include property access, cutting of unmarked trees, damage to residual (unmarked) trees, road and landing locations, construction, and rehabilitation, and the use of best management practices (BMPs) to protect soil and water resources.





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This website is maintained by Bill Cook, Michigan State University Extension Forester in the Upper Peninsula.  Comments, questions, and suggestions are gratefully accepted. 
Last update of this page was 12 February, 2014







This site is hosted by School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science at Michigan Technological University.

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