Posted: July 2, 2021

Timber harvesting is an important management tool. When conducted with care and planning, it allows owners to manage forests to meet multiple objectives.

Photo credit: Dave Jackson

Photo credit: Dave Jackson

Landowners choose to conduct timber sales for a variety of reasons. The decision to harvest may be recommended in a management plan or it may be unexpected.

Regardless of the reason, a successful timber harvest that meets landowner goals begins with a forest resources professional developing a plan. Timber harvesting is a time when landowners can improve their woods for what they value—such as enhancing wildlife habitat—or cause real damage from which the woods might not recover for generations.

A new publication from Penn State Extension titled, “Timber Sales: A Guide to Selling Timber,” is available to help land­owners understand how timber sales are conducted. This 12-page publication outlines a seven-step process. “It will assist forest landowners in understanding how a timber sale is conducted and how to retain the services of a forestry professional,” said Dave Jackson, forestry educator and publication co-author. “It is not a definitive how-to guide, as much of the process will depend on each specific situation.”

Timber harvesting is not a process to be entered into lightly. Harvests involve complex decisions across many issues, including ecology, forest operations, business, law, taxes, marketing, and negotiation. Harvests have both short- and long-term consequences for the landowner and the forest. This publication is a first step in helping landowners understand some of these consequences and how they can ensure a successful outcome.

Selling timber is complicated and re­quires substantial investments in time and a thorough understanding of the industry. Timber sales have the potential to impact site productivity, wildlife habitat, water quality, aesthetics, income, taxes, estate planning—the list goes on. Those lacking the proper level of experience should use this publication as a reference to under­stand how foresters can help and what they strive to accomplish on the landown­er’s behalf.

A satisfactory harvest experience is no accident; it is the result of thoughtful plan­ning and hard work. Planning is critical to ensuring a positive outcome, one that meets landowner objectives and sustainability guidelines. To ensure a successful timber sale, landowners must have a clear understanding of the process. This new Extension publication can help.

“Timber Sales: A Guide to Selling Timber” is available as a free download­able PDF; printed copies are available for purchase. To view the full publication, visit https://extension.psu.edu/timber-sales-a-guide-to-selling-timber or call 877-345-0691.

Contact Information

Center for Private Forests

Address

416 Forest Resources Building
University Park, PA 16802

Center for Private Forests

Address

416 Forest Resources Building
University Park, PA 16802