Timber Sale Administration
Our mission is to grow the ecological and monetary value of the forest, and the way to do that is to intentionally grow trees of high value.
While our vision for a forest is not focused on timber value, it is the value of the timber that allows a landowner to manage their land for long-term revenue, and invest in the land’s future without spending money out-of-pocket. Invasive vegetation control, water quality protection, wildlife habitat improvements, property boundary maintenance, and non-commercial timber stand improvement (releasing crop trees and managing undesirable species composition), all require an investment of time and/or money, and that money can be provided by harvesting timber. In addition to these potential expenses, landowners must pay property taxes every year.
Administering a timber sale has become much more challenging over the past couple decades, as the value of our “low-grade” wood has diminished greatly. The forest products industry in New England has relied on paper production to utilize much of the timber volume that is grown, but has lost dozens of paper mills since the 1990s. In some cases, trees that would have been processed into paper now have zero value and are taking up the growing space of potentially higher value trees. When combined with the region’s legacy of “high-grading” harvests, where the most valuable trees were removed, much of the land in our region offers little in the way of timber value, and it can be challenging to put together a timber sale that pays for itself.
Upper Valley Forest Management works with a diverse assortment of forest product producers to make the best use of every single tree. We have developed working relationships with a large network of sawmills and log buyers. By marketing the high value sawlogs directly, we can capture the maximum value possible from trees that have been carefully and patiently grown. This includes selecting malformed trees that may not be conventionally attractive and would otherwise be sold for firewood and selling them directly to timber framers who place high value on unique timber. The bark of a paper birch tree can sometimes be removed before the tree is harvested and is worth more than the wood itself. Perhaps there are red pine trees planted decades ago. These trees sometimes end up being cut for conventional sawtimber, but there are opportunities to sell them at a premium to be used as utility poles. Knowing the markets and where to sell various types and grades of logs brings extra value to landowners when trees are harvested.
In the interest of growing value in our land, many timber sales are a dance, where we are removing the smallest amount of high quality sawtimber as necessary in order to “pay” to remove the low value wood. While there are occasionally exceptions to meet landowner’s objectives, Upper Valley Forest Management will always manage a forest for its future value- not its present return.