Forestland and timber are assets that should be managed with as much care as a stock portfolio or any other real estate investment. While monetary yield is often not the most important goal for a landowner, understanding timber values, growth rates, and how markets are likely to move is an important part of any management strategy. By managing to increase future timber values, landowners will increase the number of options available to them or their heirs in the future.
The first step in managing a forestland asset is an accurate inventory or “timber cruise.” In addition to providing information on terrain, access, unique sites, and non-timber resources, the timber inventory provides an estimate of timber volumes and values by species and product classes. With hundreds of different tree species, high variability in logging and hauling costs, and constantly changing domestic and export markets, an accurate inventory and thoughtful market analysis is necessary to estimate the monetary value of any timber stand in our region.
There are many different methods of cruising timber including fixed radius plots, strip cruising, variable radius plots (prism cruising), and 100% inventory. Depending on the needs of our clients, terrain, tree diameters, and timber products, we utilize a sampling design that accurately captures the natural variability in a stand and provides data that can be used to manage the resource appropriately, predict harvest volumes, or estimate a sale price.