Here are some Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I need a Consulting Forester?
While most people have the desire to "do it right", few have the expertise or knowledge when marketing timber. A Consulting Forester working for you and not the buyer will ensure you that your goals are met.
Are all Consulting Foresters the same?
Sadly, no. There is no licensing for foresters in Pennsylvania. Anyone can say he is a forester. Many loggers and buyers call themselves foresters with no formal education, citing their "years in the woods" as enough for the title. It is not. They have no training in Silviculture. As in all professions, there is a wide range of ability and experience within the Consulting Forester ranks. Many foresters try to establish themselves as consultants having never purchased timber or run crews. Without this experience, most do not make it. They will struggle with the basics and do not comand the respect of the crews. An experienced forester can anticipate what is coming next, and many times will be able to avoid a problem. And if there is a problem, experienced foresters know the remedy. Quality experience shows.
That goes for marking the timber as well...Some consultants hire other foresters with less experience to mark the timber.
AA Forestry and Wildlife Service marks all of its own sales. There can be a very big difference in the results.
Another thing to look for is Professional Affiliations and Qualifications. These take time, money and experience to acquire.
To maintain The Society of American Forester Certification requires attending a yearly minimum of continuing education classes just to retain this certification. This assures you that the forester is knowledgeable in the current issues, whether it is insect and disease, or the newest EPA Rules and Regulations.
Why choose an ACF Forester (Association of Consulting Foresters) ?
Again, there is a wide range of ability and qualification among foresters. ACF Foresters offer the highest degree of professional service available to the public.
ACF Foresters go through an extensive vetting process before being accepted for membership. Some do not qualify. By using an ACF Forester, you can be assured that any and all work will be done professionally with your desired outcome.
Are timber prices still low? Should I wait for better prices before I sell?
The industry has recovered from the crash of 2008. The higher prices of the 90's and early 2000's were a function of the housing bubble. Demand for timber and pricing for timber is now at the pre-bubble value. Premium value timber will always command premium stumpage prices. The mills want it and will pay for it. Oak and Maple markets are strong, and right now Ash is selling for Oak prices and better. Nobody knows what the future markets will demand, but the industry is pretty sure we will not see the outrageous Cherry prices ever again.
If I sell some timber will the loggers "destroy" my property?
Only if you let them. By using a Consulting Forester they will not. Removal of timber obviously changes the immediate look of your forest. Most landowners have difficulty with the visual impact of all those tree tops. It's just part of the process. They will decay over time and put nutrients back into the soil. The tops also help protect seedlings from deer browsing. They are highly desirable in providing bedding security for deer. Heavy machinery moving trees that weigh a ton or more will produce roads that are rutted during the harvest. Consulting Foresters will hold a "performance deposit" (money held against contract compliance) to assure that all skid roads and loading decks are retired properly with a bulldozer after the harvest is completed.
Is there a "best time" to sell timber?
The demand for timber from the industry is relatively constant. Since lumber produced by the mills is a commodity, prices fluctuate by species during the calendar year. Red Oak might be up in May, but be down in October. Soft Maple might be up in June, but start a 3-month slide starting in August. Markets are always changing. When timber is sold by a Consulting Forester, it is normally sold on a one- or two-year contract. This gives the producer some flexibility in harvesting contract timber to coincide with peaks in lumber prices. They might purchase a stand offered in August which is heavy in Sugar Maple volume, and harvest the timber in December when the Maple board market might be strongest. Regardless of when you sell the timber, the mills are looking forward trying to stage the harvest process for their financial advantage. Working with a Consulting Forester and a one year or longer contract will assure the seller of the highest price regardless of the time of the sale.
Will using a Consulting Forester cost me a lot of money?
No, actually using a Consulting Forester will more than likely MAKE you money. A Consulting Forester will usually mail a Timber Sale Prospectus requesting sealed bids to 50 or more purchasing agents. The sealed bid process will maximize the results of the bidding, many times receiving 15+ bids. The more bids the better. Someone in those 50+ agents will want it more than the other buyers for a variety of reasons and will bid accordingly. The Consulting Forester's ability to find this bidder will result in a higher price than the price realized by even the most aggressive private landowner who is selling his timber all by himself. It's just how the system works. The Consulting Forester's fee is more than covered by this fact alone.
There is another value to consider that is routinely overlooked by landowners. Your timber resource is no different than any other financial investment. There is a base value present that must be managed. If you sell all of the base value in the Timber Sale, the growth value of this base is significantly reduced, returning little growth value over time. A Consulting Forester, by retaining the right trees and removing just a percentage of the base value while manipulating species and working for quality regeneration during a harvest will keep the investment going. It is not a simple process. Landowner price demands must be met while working against constantly changing insect and disease problems. What value do you place on this? A Consulting Forester will do his best to keep this investment base growing. This will make you money over time.
Can you help me maximize deer on my property?
Yes, I can do that. By using the principles of Quality Deer Management and incorporating them in a Timber Sale it is possible to improve your property for deer. Each property is different. What your neighbor's property offers in the way of food and cover in relationship to your property will come into play. Recognizing what your property offers and what it is missing need not be complicated. By making a plan and implementing this plan, you can improve the carrying capacity of your property. Improving habitat variability, increasing edge effect, creating food plots, creating early succession, creating bedding areas, developing mini clearcuts and travel corriders , and establishing a "no go zone" or core, are all tools in holding deer on your property. AA Forestry can help you in developing and implementing this plan.