AHC Resources

In many respects, landowners benefit greatly from having a professional forester assist with the management and sale of timber. These benefits typically include a well-planned and therefore environmentally friendly harvesting operation, utilization of better forest management practices, and obtaining a higher sale price. A professional forester can also assist the landowner in realizing long-term property goals and in maximizing long-term income from the property.

Professional forestry assistance with timber sales can be secured from several sources: West Virginia Division of Forestry landowner assistance foresters, industrial landowner assistance program (LAP) or cooperative forest management (CFM) foresters, private consulting foresters, and industrial procurement foresters. Significant differences exist between the types and amounts of services provided by each. Service foresters and industrial LAP or CFM foresters are impartial, third parties whose primary job responsibility is to provide technical assistance to the private landowner with regard to the management of timberland. In return for management planning and forest management technical assistance, the industrial LAP or CFM forester generally requests an opportunity for the company’s procurement division to bid competitively on any timber offered for sale. Services provided by the WV Division of Forestry service foresters are free of charge. The consulting forester works under contract for the landowner and is in a position to personally represent only the landowner’s interests. A procurement forester is employed by an industrial concern, with the primary job function of supplying raw material (generally logs) to the company’s processing facility.

Landowners have varying needs, such as assistance with a timber sale, an appraisal of timber value, or the preparation of a long-term management plan, and, therefore, need differing professional forestry assistance. In order to be assured of a top-quality professional forester, the landowner should ask some important questions before entering into a contract with a forester:

· Educational background

· Certifications and professional affiliations

· Experience

· References

· Fees and services

Chapter 30, Article 19, Sections 1-10 of the Code of West Virginia, effective July 1, 1963, provides for the establishment of a State Board of Registration for Foresters. In West Virginia, professional foresters meeting the minimum requirements of the State Board of Registration for Foresters may be designated, upon making application and paying the required annual fee, a Registered Professional Forester. In general, an applicant must possess a Bachelor’s Degree or a Master’s Degree in forestry from a four-year school, college, or university accredited by the Society of American Foresters and have at least two year’s work experience as a professional forester.

The Society of American Foresters has established a program offering Certified Forester status to professional foresters. Requirements, in general, include a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in forestry, five year’s experience, sixty hours of continuing education every three years, and ascription to a uniform standard of professional practices and conduct.

Many foresters included in this directory and not listed as a West Virginia Registered Professional Forester or as a Society of American Foresters Certified Forester may, in fact, meet the minimum requirements for registration or certification.

 

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