Timber is one of Pennsylvania’s renewable and most valuable resources. A properly managed and maintained forest can remain healthy and productive from generation to generation. In Pennsylvania, it often takes between 80-120 years for a commercial, sawtimber-sized stand to develop. At some point, the harvesting of trees is usually essential for both financial and biological reasons. With sound planning, a timber harvest will not only benefit you financially but should benefit the health and sustainability of your forest!
As a forestland owner, the burden is on YOU to plan for the health and productivity of your forest. Before any tree is marked for harvest, it is essential for you to determine your goals and objectives for your property. Look at your forest as a long-term investment, much like a retirement plan. When you retire you don’t “cash in” all your money from your pension or retirement plan all at once; you make a plan on how to wisely manage your money so it will last throughout your retirement years. Similarly, you should not “cash in” on your forest by cutting all the biggest and best trees for a one time monetary gain.
If you decide to have timber harvested from your property it is imperative that you make sure sound, sustainable harvesting methods are practiced. A sustainable harvest not only generates income today, but it retains or improves the overall health and value of your forest for the future.
The best way to determine what you can do is to know what you have. Developing a forest management plan can supply you with much of the necessary information that you will need to make sound forest management decisions. There are several types of plans ranging from the structured and very detailed plans to the shorter, more concise plans; but all plans should contain: map(s), detailed descriptions (including history) and management activity prescriptions specific for your property. Only after a careful review and analysis of all the available information can you make a responsible decision to sell your timber.
NEVER be pressured into selling your trees, Even in extreme cases of disease, insects, or salvage a timber sale should be a carefully thought out decision.
A service Forester in your county is available to aid you in managing your woodlot. Call them today. They can be found at: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/serviceforesters_select.aspx