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Timber Assessments, Cruising & Appraisal

Wildland Forestry provides professional timber evaluations for any need a landowner may have.  Basic forest assessments are a somewhat informal description or report of a timber stand's condition and the potential possibilities.  These are often conducted "in-person" to give the landowner an opportunity to ask questions and receive immediate feedback.  In broader terms, the output is an instinctual summary of the forest's current state and recommended actions to pursue a desired objective.

In contrast, a forest inventory is largely statistical and scientific in nature.  Counting trees would be a extremely simple way to describe an inventory. A timber cruise is a forestry term which is simply defined as "a forest product inventory on wooded acreage".  This requires knowing what species and specifications are suitable for different forest products (such as pole-stock, sawtimber, pallet-stock, and pulpwood).

A timber appraisal is similar, but it additionally assigns monetary value to the forest products based on current markets in that region.  It also takes into account certain characteristics such as road access or proximity to mills.

Common needs for a Forest Assessment:
1.  New property that has not previously been managed.
2.  Change in objectives or land-use of the forested acreage.
3.  Desire to produce a specific product from current timber stand.

Reasons to obtain a timber cruise:

1.  For growth assessment calculations and species suitability.
2.  To determine timber types for management plans or maps.
3.  To identify the quantity of specific forest products for sale.

Uses of a Timber Appraisal:

1. Assigning values to acreages when dividing an estate.
2. Assisting valuation of land for sale.
3. Determining the "timber basis" for land purchases or transfers.
4. Establishing a minimum bid value for timber sales.

For approximate fees of the above services, use this link to view our Rates page.

Process of a Timber Cruise and Appraisal
1. Obtain a property map, design cruise layout, and approximate the number of  inventory plots needed.
2. Walk the property and collect forest data. This includes measuring trees and noting forest characteristics.

3. Perform preliminary analysis based on collected data and inventory notes. Stratify (Categorize) blocks based on data.
4. Create a Timber Type map.  In this example, stands 2, 5, & 8 are dominated by pine.  Stands 6, 7, & 10 are classified as upland hardwoods.  Stands 3 & 9 are bottomland hardwoods.

5. Determine individual stand acreages and group plots with common characteristics.  Data analysis is generally performed with statistical software. Analyze outputs and summarize forest products.  Determine if confidence intervals are sufficient for client's objectives.

6. Research local markets to determine prices of products.  Data comes from recent timber sales, inquiries with timber buyers, and conversations with other professionals.
7. Assign values to forest product volumes and acreages.  Adjust figures based on access improvements, stand layouts, and acreage.