Do You Need a Consulting Forester?

A consulting forester is your personal representative who is working to help solve your forestry-related problems.

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, then you want to consider employing a consulting forester:

  • Do you have timber you want to sell and want to get the best possible price while still protecting your property?
  • Do you need someone who is on your side to help you manage a timber sale?
  • Do you need help in contacting reputable potential timber buyers and in drawing up and monitoring a timber sale contract so that your interests and property are adequately protected?
  • Do you need to know how much timber you have and its value, either for a timber sale, for buying or selling land, or for tax purposes?
  • Has someone stolen timber from your property? Did you know you may be able to receive triple damages if the people who illegally removed your trees didn’t give you prior notification of their intention to harvest trees next to your boundary?
  • Will you be involved in any type of legal proceedings regarding forestland, Do you need professional forest planning assistance?

These are some of the most common reasons a landowner wishes to employ a consulting forester. A consulting forester is able to advise and assist you with any problem connected with timber or the management of your woodland.

What services does a consulting forester provide?

1. Timber Sales — A consulting forester knows timber and stays current on timber markets. He knows who buys what kinds of products in your area and knows what kind of job they do. He can get you the best price for your timber and make sure that your woods, your land, and your interests are protected. Included in this may be:

Timber Marking — By selectively marking your timber for you, a consultant helps you sell only those trees which are mature or need to be harvested at this time. This will leave your better, younger trees to grow for the future. By pre-selecting the trees to be removed and not leaving the choice to a timber buyer, you will be able to help preserve the beauty of your woods to enjoy in future generations.

Timber Cruising — If timber marking is not needed or wanted, the consultant can cruise your timber to tell you exactly how much volume and the grade of what you have to sell.

Appraisals — The consultant can tell you what your timber should be worth and then help you get the most for it when you sell it.

Sale Representation — The consultant can represent you in the actual timber sale, from beginning to end, including:

a. Drawing up a timber sale contract to meet your specific situation
b. Advertising the timber
c. Contacting the appropriate buyers
d. Showing the timber to buyers
e. Opening bids
f. Awarding the timber sale contract.

The consultant can also make logging inspections to see that the contract is being followed and that your woods and property are being protected.

2. Forest Management Planning — A consultant can meet with you and help you plan the future of your forestland. A properly managed forest not only provides timber benefits, but also natural beauty, wildlife, recreation and high quality water. After determining your personal goals and objectives, the consultant can walk over your property with you and help you prepare a professional plan to help meet your woodland goals for the future.

3. Trespass Investigations — did you know that under a recent Kentucky law (KRS 364-130) if someone crosses your property line and cuts timber on your property without your permission that you are entitled to receive triple damages in court, This law applies if the logger or adjacent landowner did not notify you in advance of their intention to harvest. A consultant can estimate the volume and value of any timber illegally cut or removed from your property and then help you recover damages.

4. Expert Witness Testimony — In cases of timber trespass, theft, or other legal issues related to forestland, a consultant can provide expert witness testimony in court on your behalf.

5. Other Services — Consultants may also provide other services such as vendor services for tree planting, site preparation, or timber stand improvement. Consultants may also provide or assist in environmental impact studies, ecological assessments and a great variety of other things which may in some way be related to forestland.

What Are Consulting Forester Fees?

Consultant-handled timber sales and related work are usually done for a percentage of the sale price of the timber. Because of the consultant's knowledge and experience in timber and his knowledge of the local buyers and markets, the consultant will nearly always make a landowner more than the cost of his fee as compared to a landowner handling a sale on his or her own. Not only does the consultant get the landowner more money, the consultant's knowledge of logging practices, contracts, and sale procedures will assure the landowners, Your interests are protected with professional care. When a forest is mistreated or cut improperly, it may take a generation or more to recover. In all fee arrangements, the services of a KACF Consulting Forester offer clear advantages of economy without conflict of interest. Consultant fees for activities other than timber sales depend on the type of job, travel distance and the amount of time required.


The Kentucky Division of Forestry

The Mission Statement of the division reads, "To protect and enhance the forest resources of the Commonwealth through a public informed of the environmental and economic importance of these resources.”

To achieve this mission, the division operates eleven distinct programs:

  • Forest Stewardship Program,
  • Forest Fire Prevention and Control,
  • Reforestation and Nurseries,
  • Urban and Community Forestry Program,
  • Forest Health Program,
  • State Forest Administration,
  • Forest Inventory and Analysis,
  • Forest Resource Education Program,
  • Timber Harvest Compliance,
  • The Kentucky Forest Conservation Act,
  • and the Kentucky Master Logger Program.

Many of these programs are extremely important to all Kentucky forestland owners, particularly the Forest Stewardship Program. The Division of Forestry provides this, and many other services, free of charge. Landowners with 10 or more acres of forestland are eligible to participate in the Forest Stewardship Program. However, planning and technical assistance is not denied to landowners with fewer than 10 acres of forestland.

The landowner is asked to choose primary and secondary management objectives from four options on the application. Depending on the choices and their ranking, the forester visits the property and may be accompanied by a wildlife biologist and/or a representative from the local conservation district.

An assessment is made of the forest resources on the property and coupled with the landowner objectives to create a Forest Stewardship Plan specific to that landowner and that property.

Follow-up technical assistance is available to help the landowner implement the recommendations in the plan and cost-share financial assistance may be available to help cover the costs of implementation.

There are nine district offices across the Commonwealth and 40 professional foresters whose primary duties include technical and cost-share assistance to private forestland owners in the state through the Forest Stewardship Program.


What Are My Other Alternatives?

Some private forest products companies or sawmills also employ professional foresters who may provide forest management services to private landowners. At no time can a forester working for a private company be reasonably expected to provide a service which would compromise his company's interests, though. If someone shows up at your home, unsolicited, it is likely they are representing someone else's interests.


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