Why Sell Timber?

Landowners have many reasons for choosing to sell their timber.

Some do it as part of their forest management plan, because it’s a powerful tool for improving the health and vigor of your trees, creating vistas, trails and wildlife habitat, and encouraging forest renewal.

Some do it for the income the harvest brings them. Some do it after a natural disaster, insect infestation or disease damages their trees, in order to remove them and salvage some of their value. And some do it to convert the land to other uses, such as crop or pasture land. Whatever the reason or combination of reasons, a harvest that’s well-planned and sustainably done can leave your forest healthier than it was before.

As with most other things, though, timing is critical. These questions can help you decide if you’re ready to harvest.

  1. Why do I want to sell my trees? Do I need cash now?

You should not decide to harvest your trees on the spur of the moment. Once you’ve made a deal with a potential buyer, there’s no going back, even if the deal damages your woods. You want to make the decision to harvest (or not to harvest) with all the information you need, and without pressure. And you should be clear about your reasons for harvesting.

  1. What are my forest management goals?

Harvesting is only part of the forest management process, so you’ll want to know where and how it fits in. Is your focus on improving your stands? Recreation? Wildlife habitat? Your goals can influence how and where you harvest, so take the time to figure them out before you make a choice.

  1. How much do I know about selling timber? Am I willing to spend the time to learn what I need to know?

You will need some time to get to know your land and what it has to offer a buyer, identify and work with a forester, and learn the steps of a timber sale. If you’re not sure that’s something you can do right now, it may not be the right time for a harvest.

  1. What do I want to do with the land after I sell my timber?

Your plans for your land—whether that involves planting new trees or converting the land to a different use—can also help decide if harvesting is right for you and how it should be handled.

  1. Are there other family members who should be involved in this process?

Once you’ve determined that you’re ready to sell, why you want to sell and who else should be part of the process, you’re ready to start on the road to your harvest. If you're not sure of these things, then it is best to wait and decide later.

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