For a timber owner, the decision to harvest is frequently a function of timing and often catalyzed by factors such as the economy, age of the timber, log markets, leverage and, on occasion, naturally occurring events such as infestation, drought, or fire. There are undoubtedly many more factors not mentioned here that would impact a timber owner’s decision to harvest. For purposes of this article, the information below assumes the timber owner is also the landowner. There are cases where the timber owner is not the landowner, but the decision process for harvesting is driven by all the same factors as above, except in the case where the timber owner’s interest has a sunset provision and their interest in the timber is not perpetual.

Once a timber owner has made the decision to harvest, they then need to decide whether or not they are comfortable managing the permitting, harvesting, and selling process, or if outsourcing some or all of the process is preferred. Factors a timber owner should consider at this point in the process are whether or not they have experience in these areas and whether they will be able to maximize return comparable to or greater than the outcome anticipated if the process were outsourced. Another decision to make is what sale format the landowner will use to maximize return. It is here in the process when a timber owner should consult with a Forester who has extensive experience in all aspects of owning, managing, permitting, harvesting, and sales. Things to discuss with the Forester are various sale options, which may include stumpage bids/sale, direct log sales, and contract log and haul.