Planning for a Timber Cruise

There are many reasons for conducting a timber cruise on your property.  While it is an expense that may not have any immediate return on investment, it is in the best interest of landowners to know the value of their timber whether they are preparing to sell their property, determining net worth, considering a timber harvest, or simply making decisions on how to best manage their timber.

Before conducting a timber cruise, landowners need to make sure that the professional involved in the timber cruise has all of the information he or she needs to do the job properly.  The folks at the Alabama Cooperative Extension offer these tips to make sure the process is completed accurately.

Steps To Take Before the Timber Cruise

Define your objectives – What is the purpose of the cruise?  What information is needed? Why do I need this information?  Knowing the answer to these questions will ensure that the cruise meets your needs and expectations.

Obtain a map of your property – That may sound silly to some, but you would be surprised how many landowners don’t have a map to their tract of land at their disposal.  The county courthouse is the best place to find this.

Take a walk – Check out the property yourself before anyone else does.  Make sure the location and size recorded are accurate and make sure all boundaries are clearly marked.

Do some research – Always check the references of those performing the timber cruise.  As with any profession, there are good foresters and less than desirable ones.  Talk to other landowners who have had timber cruises done in your area.  Check with your local forestry commission as well.

Compartmentalize your property – If your property contains several different types of forest areas that vary by age, species, or other characteristics, it is helpful to divide the land into separate groupings such as hardwoods and pines, or 15 year old pines and 25 year old pines.

Get cost estimates – Before the cruise begins, make sure you have determined how much each phase of the cruise will cost.  This will not only help for budgetary reasons but for tax and estate planning as well.

Don’t know where to turn to? Have additional questions?  Send us a comment below and we can point you in the right direction.

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