Forestry Basics
page 20Pulpwood is often measured by weight at the point of delivery. A truck containing a load of pulpwood is weighed and the weight of wood is determined by subtracting the truck weight from the total weight. Saw logs are the most valuable parts of the tree and accurate volume estimates are critical to receiving a fair price for your timber. Saw log volumes are estimated in units of board feet. Simply, a board foot is the amount of wood in a piece measuring 12 inches square and 1 inch thick.

By using stem diameters and log lengths, three different "log rules" or mathematical equations, have been developed for estimating the number of board feet in a log. The three log rules are called "Doyle," "Scribner," and "International." The landowner selling timber is advised to estimate the volume of their trees using Scribner or International. Because the Doyle log rule underestimates board feet volumes, most timber buyers prefer to use the Doyle log rule. To get a better understanding click the link (  referenced by “Understanding Log Scales and Log Rules” published by The University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service.

If you, as a seller, are not aware of this difference, you may settle for much less money than your timber is worth. Try to negotiate a volume estimate using either the International or Scribner rules, otherwise, make sure you negotiate a selling price that is about 40% higher per thousand board feet. Note: All of the tree value estimates in this module are based on volumes determined using the International Log Rule.

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