9: Harvesting Timber

Activities: Harvesting Timber

How these activities will help you as a woodland owner:

These activities suggest important questions to ask your forester, emphasizes safety and timber harvesting guidelines, and recommend mapping your property to guide the design of roads, skid trails and the harvesting process to protect soil, water, rare species, and cultural resources.

Step 1: Read Chapter 8 and 9

Read both Chapter 8: Marketing Timber and Chapter 9: Harvesting Timber before proceeding with a timber sale or working with a forester or logger on a timber sale.

Step 2: Identify Questions to Ask Your Forester

Because you may know a lot about your property, you can help your forester prepare for a timber harvest. As you read this chapter, we identify various items you may want to discuss with or tell your forester about your woodland. We have also included some frequently asked questions (FAQ) for various sections.

Listed below are important questions to ask your forester:

  • Which guidelines do they recommend for your woodland?
  • Which timber harvesting system(s) is most appropriate for your land and objectives?
  • Where would they recommend the transportation infrastructure be located? Consider how that location serves other useful purposes you may have after a harvest.
  • Which types of harvesting equipment may be most appropriate on your property?
  • What would they recommend be done with the slash and stumps following a harvest?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of Forest Certification? Which types of certification are offered in your area? Is certification appropriate for your property?

Step 3: Read about Safety and Timber Harvest Guidelines

Read the sections on Safety and Timber Harvesting Guidelines. Ask your forester about which best management practices for timber harvesting which are most relevant for your timber sale.

Step 4: Map Your Property

Create a map of your property. The map can be hand drawn or can be created from professional maps or aerial photographs. On the map, capture the following information:

  • Names and addresses of adjacent landowners (to check for boundary lines)
  • Where are the boundary lines and how are they marked? Who marked them?
  • Where any of the following items are located on your property:
    • Buildings, stone walls, fences, barb wire, gates, or other structures
    • Deer stands or places where you have put nails, wire, or other objects in trees
    • Steep areas
    • Water such as streams, wetlands, seeps, or springs
    • Existing trails, stream or wetland crossings
    • Weak soils
    • Open areas on firm soil and relatively level ground which might be used as a landing
    • Unique plants or wildlife
    • Any known cultural resources, such as old wells, home foundations, etc.
    • Areas where you don’t want any harvesting activity to occur


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Woodland Stewardship: A Practical Guide for Midwestern Landowners, 3rd Edition Copyright © 2019 by University of Minnesota Extension is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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