Private forest landowners come from all walks of life and are as varied as the reason they own forest property. Some are farmers whose forestland represents family property that was not suitable for farming due to steep slopes and thin soils. Others may own forestland for hunting and recreational values. One common misconception is that this forest property has little or no current value since it does not produce an annual income.
Forests are unique in that each tree represents both the final product as well as the manufacturing plant. Although they do not provide yearly end products such as corn or grain crops, this does not mean that they are not increasing in value. For example, a red oak tree that is currently 14 inches in diameter at 4.5 feet above the ground (diameter at breast height-DBH) and has 27 feet of clear stem wood, has a value of $37.41. In just 10 years, as this tree grows larger in diameter and gains additional height, it can be worth $101.31, which is equal to an annual return of 10.5%.
Different tree sizes have value for various forest products ranging from pulpwood (smaller diameter trees) for making paper based products to lumber and veneer for high value furniture. Management of your woodlot can be done to increase its current and potential timber value and this can be accomplished in conjunction with, not instead of, other hunting, recreational and esthetic goals and objectives. It is possible to enjoy economic returns now and in the future while improving wildlife habitat diversity and improving access to your property.
Woodlots in the Appalachian region are quite varied in that they contain trees of many different species with a wide variety of tree sizes. Tree value varies by species and in general, increases in value with increasing stem diameter (DBH) and quality (the amount of the stem in clear, knot free wood). We have included a “Stumpage/Log Value” calculator link to an Excel spreadsheet in order to provide a glimpse of the variability in value between different tree species. Most forest landowners do not recognize the value of their woodlot simply because they lack the knowledge of how to measure and evaluate their timber resource.
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