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#1
Old 04-10-2011, 11:24 PM
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Logging and cutting trees vs loss of property value

I live in a fairly rural area outside of Seattle. Where I live most of the lots are zoned 5 to 10 acres. Occasionally I will see someone has sold the lumber off their site, leaving this huge bald patch.

These bald patches are a big eyesore, but I also think they have effectively diminished the value of their property. At least it would to me. Why would I buy a 5 acre lot that has all the tree demolished on it? I moved out here for the trees not to see a 5 acre bald spot!

But the question I had was this---really how much money is someone truly collecting by harvesting the trees off that 5 acre lot? I guess if you truly need the money it might make sense but the loss of value on the property has to offset it wouldn't it? So does anyone out there have the straight dope on the value of the trees?
#2
Old 04-11-2011, 07:05 AM
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Well, around here, a timber company will come in and harvest timber off of your land (pine) for abour $12/ton. It isn't anywhere near the retail value, but it beats paying to have it cut down.

I don't know about where you are from, but down here, most people buy land to build on it, not look at it.
#3
Old 04-11-2011, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Khendrask View Post
Well, around here, a timber company will come in and harvest timber off of your land (pine) for abour $12/ton. It isn't anywhere near the retail value, but it beats paying to have it cut down.

I don't know about where you are from, but down here, most people buy land to build on it, not look at it.
Yeah, we've had this discussion before. While having trees on your property may increase the sellability, it hardly ever increases the value.
#4
Old 04-11-2011, 08:05 AM
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I'd think it would increase the value of that acreage if they then deliberately planted saplings in a pattern that would prevent soil erosion and encourage healthier trees, while at the same time allowing for a building to be planned on the same spot in better proximity to the trees.
I've heard (but have no cite at hand for) that new growth is better for the carbon cycle than old growth as saplings need more CO2 at that point in the growing cycle since they have less stored energy. Offsetting that, though, is the emissions from the required logging/planting equipment.
#5
Old 04-11-2011, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Nawth Chucka View Post
I've heard (but have no cite at hand for) that new growth is better for the carbon cycle than old growth as saplings need more CO2 at that point in the growing cycle since they have less stored energy. Offsetting that, though, is the emissions from the required logging/planting equipment.
Well, young small growing trees are taking in and fixing more carbon than mature trees, yes. But at best they're only going to take in as much carbon as was stored in the old trees to begin with. So unless you're burying the old trees somehow so they'll never rot, you're releasing at least as much carbon by cutting the old trees down than you'll ever get back by regrowing them.
#6
Old 04-11-2011, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Quercus View Post
Well, young small growing trees are taking in and fixing more carbon than mature trees, yes. But at best they're only going to take in as much carbon as was stored in the old trees to begin with. So unless you're burying the old trees somehow so they'll never rot, you're releasing at least as much carbon by cutting the old trees down than you'll ever get back by regrowing them.
That's an excellent point. Would it then only make sense to remove old trees and plant new to remove diseased/infested trees, as the environmental good would then outweigh the bad?
#7
Old 04-11-2011, 08:47 AM
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How much money from harvesting? It would depend on the local demand for the particular type, age and number of trees on your lot.
#8
Old 04-11-2011, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Quercus View Post
Well, young small growing trees are taking in and fixing more carbon than mature trees, yes. But at best they're only going to take in as much carbon as was stored in the old trees to begin with. So unless you're burying the old trees somehow so they'll never rot, you're releasing at least as much carbon by cutting the old trees down than you'll ever get back by regrowing them.
Like assembling the old trees into some sort of structure and then living in it for decades to centuries? In this country at least, older trees are generally very valuable as lumber, so only the smaller younger stuff gets turned into firewood or disposable paper products that result in the carbon being recycled sooner rather than later.

As for the OP, the value of rural land hugely depends on the ability to develop it, which includes road access and the ability to get water and sewer (or a well and septic), as well as zoning issues. Rural land that isn't readily developable can be worth very little, even if it's spitting distance from a town with a very strong real estate market. So it could be that getting some cash from the timber on the lot every couple of decades is all the owner really expects out of it, especially if it was bought for a pittance a long time ago.

Of course one possibility is that the land is owned by a timber company. They once owned almost all the private land in rural western Washington and some of them make more money selling land than they do selling wood these days. A lot of the subdivisions and other development in the exurbs are being carved out of timber land, so it shouldn't be terribly surprising if the adjoining non-developed land is still being used for timber.
#9
Old 04-11-2011, 12:05 PM
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How long are the owners planning on holding the land?
If the current owners have no plans to sell off the land itself, then logging it off gets you caash now, for a crop that will eventually regrow.
It's kind of like a house value. If you don't plan on selling it, then it really doesn't matter what the market value is.
#10
Old 04-11-2011, 02:52 PM
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mbf = Thousand board feet

What you get for your trees depends on a lot of things. Prices for timber in the west side of Washington are generally spoken of in "price per thousand board feet" ($/mbf). A lumber mill will set a purchase price per thousand depending on the species, sort, and grade.

Being on the west side Iím assuming you have Douglas-Fir 2nd growth. A well stocked stand of Doug can get up to 90 mbf (thousand board feet) per acre, but we will assume your stand has 50 mbf per acre. We will also have to assume 10 acres, and a price at the mill delivered of $500.00 per mbf.

That gets you a total of 500 mbf at a value of $250,000, but thatís a delivered price.

Now subtract out (all prices are assumed, I donít live in your area): Felling and Bucking (55.00 per mbf), Yarding from the woods to the landing (140.00 per mbf), Sort and Load (25.00 per mbf), Hauling - distance to mill is important (70.00 per mbf). I also included 20.00 per mbf for road reconstruction for driveway improvements.

Total logging costs 310.00 per mbf, + 10% Profit & Risk (31.00 per mbf) for the logging company = 341.00 per mbf cost

Sales Value = $159.00 per mbf or a total value of $79,000.00 in your pocket.

Now you have to pay taxes on this, but it is a pretty nice payday. Iím not a tax professional but there are also a lot of tax incentives for your reforestation costs. I believe up to 10,000 amortized out over 5 years. So maybe you can lower your tax burden by buying a 4-wheeler to help in planting the next crop.

Also, you have to realize that with the reduction of big tree logging there is not much equipment or many lumber mills that can still handle large trees. If your average diameter is starting to exceed 36Ē you might be growing yourself out of your market and may begin to lose value.
#11
Old 04-11-2011, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Tastes of Chocolate View Post
If the current owners have no plans to sell off the land itself, then logging it off gets you caash now, for a crop that will eventually regrow.

Could also be the owners trying to make a little money to help offset property taxes and such.
#12
Old 04-11-2011, 03:15 PM
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In the long run, you can get more money out of a piece of forest by gradually logging a few trees here and there, and letting the rest grow, than by clear-cutting. Clear-cutting gives you the immediate payoff, though. And that's only if the logging itself is your only source of profit, whereas these folks probably have plans for the cleared land, too.
#13
Old 04-11-2011, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
In the long run, you can get more money out of a piece of forest by gradually logging a few trees here and there, and letting the rest grow, than by clear-cutting. Clear-cutting gives you the immediate payoff, though. And that's only if the logging itself is your only source of profit, whereas these folks probably have plans for the cleared land, too.
There is no guarantee that selective logging is somehow better or more profitable than clearcutting. It depends on the species, site conditions and overall plan for the area.

If the high value tree species is shade intolerant than you should look towards clear cutting, on the other hand if the species is shade tolerant then leaving an over story would be beneficial.

If you have dwarf mistletoe in the stand, leaving infected trees will provide a transmission avenue to the new crop.

Selective cutting works with tree species that are wind firm, trees that arenít will blow down after release.

Selective cutting cause more damage to the residual stand, but provides a more stable cash flow.

Multiple entries cost more money.

Selective cutting may be beneficial if multiple values are desired, such as future development or certain wildlife values.

A good quality forest consultant should be able to listen to your picture of what the future stand should look like and accomplish and then design a logging plan around that.
#14
Old 04-11-2011, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
In the long run, you can get more money out of a piece of forest by gradually logging a few trees here and there, and letting the rest grow, than by clear-cutting. Clear-cutting gives you the immediate payoff, though. And that's only if the logging itself is your only source of profit, whereas these folks probably have plans for the cleared land, too.
Like sitchensis said, it's not universally true that clear-cutting is more expensive long-term (No matter how much I'd prefer that it be)
#15
Old 04-11-2011, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Quercus View Post
Like sitchensis said, it's not universally true that clear-cutting is more expensive long-term (No matter how much I'd prefer that it be)
After noticing your user name compared to mine, and reading your posts compared mine. I think I have finally found my evil (good) twin.
#16
Old 04-11-2011, 06:09 PM
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65% of our state is forested land, with a good number of landowners who harvest the timber. Management companies exist who map out harvesting and growing strategies for the landowner. Owners of large tracts will often clear-cut a certain percentage each year. Once all of the land has been cut, the part they started on first is ready to cut again.
#17
Old 04-11-2011, 07:13 PM
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sitchensis thanks--that was the info I was seeking. The ones I have seen do not appear to be replanted. This area is rural but not 'rural' in that it is developed but the development is 5-10 acre tracts. I own a 5 acre lot nearby that is heavily wooded but has homes on the adjacent 5 acre tracts. My current house is on a grandfathered in subdivision but we are still on 2 1/2 acre tracts. So it is more suburban rural if that makes any sense.

I am not talking about the land owned by timber companies, this is all private ownership. I know that the timber companies typically have a replant and have a cut and replant strategy. These areas I am talking about often there is an old home on the land so my sense is that the parents have passed on and the children are looking at getting as much cash out as possible.

5 wooded acres here would run about $100-125k, so I could see where someone might look at logging it and getting $80k out of the logs and still own the property. Or alternatively I suppose they could sell the property but I am not sure what the value of a de-treed property . Someone upthread mentioned that having trees increases your sellability but not the value. I suppose that could be true, it wouldn't for me but I am not the measure!

But thanks everyone for your comments/thoughts. I have always been curious as it is quite shocking to come up on one of these denuded acreage areas after you get used to seeing all the trees.

Last edited by Hakuna Matata; 04-11-2011 at 07:15 PM.
#18
Old 04-11-2011, 08:15 PM
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sitchensis and Quercus, I'll take it as a given that you both probably know more about this than I do. I just know that that's the way my grandfather did it, and he made a lot more over the years than he would have with a lump sum. Presumably he did all the appropriate research on his little patch of woods, and decided that was the best route for his situation. I probably shouldn't have leapt the generalization.

As an aside, sitchensis, what genus are you? I can find at least four different plant genera (none of them particularly related to Quercus) with a species by that name.
#19
Old 04-11-2011, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by sitchensis View Post
After noticing your user name compared to mine, and reading your posts compared mine. I think I have finally found my evil (good) twin.
Bet you two are just pining to get involved in an ACORN thread
#20
Old 04-11-2011, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Hakuna Matata View Post
sitchensis thanks--that was the info I was seeking. The ones I have seen do not appear to be replanted. This area is rural but not 'rural' in that it is developed but the development is 5-10 acre tracts. I own a 5 acre lot nearby that is heavily wooded but has homes on the adjacent 5 acre tracts. My current house is on a grandfathered in subdivision but we are still on 2 1/2 acre tracts. So it is more suburban rural if that makes any sense.

I am not talking about the land owned by timber companies, this is all private ownership. I know that the timber companies typically have a replant and have a cut and replant strategy. These areas I am talking about often there is an old home on the land so my sense is that the parents have passed on and the children are looking at getting as much cash out as possible.
Youíre welcome
Wanted to add that that all landowners (big and small) that log have to abide by the statutes and regulations of the state generally outlined in the stateís Best Management Practices (BMPs). The small landowners you mentioned still have to meet a certain restocking level for the site. The wet side of WA can usually meet the restocking requirements without planting, using only natural regeneration. The larger timber companies will usually replant to get a better species composition and to gain a year or two on the growth cycle.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
sitchensis and Quercus, I'll take it as a given that you both probably know more about this than I do. I just know that that's the way my grandfather did it, and he made a lot more over the years than he would have with a lump sum. Presumably he did all the appropriate research on his little patch of woods, and decided that was the best route for his situation. I probably shouldn't have leapt the generalization.

As an aside, sitchensis, what genus are you? I can find at least four different plant genera (none of them particularly related to Quercus) with a species by that name.
Iím sure your grandfather did the right thing for himself. Thatís the fun thing about owning a woodlot, making your own decisions about your land. A woodlot as an investment is like family jewelry, itís a tangible thing with a value, but also a use beyond its monetary value.

As a pure investment, one person might think the best decision would be to liquidate, and invest the proceeds on the stock market. The next may want to put it in the mattress and wait for a rainy day. A third may find the use of the woodlot more important that the value, a hunter may log for some profit but mostly to support deer habitat, a birder selectively cuts for bird species. A lover of nature could log to promote diversity or remove disease. Iím sure your grandfatherís idea of value was reflected in his management choices.

Picea sitchensis (Sitka Spruce) a soft wood, I assumed Quercus (Oak) a hard wood. I also assumed that Quercus, while knowledgeable, was on the other side of the fence from me when it comes to logging. Hence the good/bad twin mirror image comment.
#21
Old 04-12-2011, 07:15 AM
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I was interested in this thread from the start, as I have 2 heavily wooded, never developed acres on the outskirts of Charleston County, SC. I spoke the SC forestry folks and they suggested I first have someone tell me what trees I have before making any decisions about logging, as there are very occasionally fine furniture-grade trees found in that county that are sought after by furniture makers in the Carolinas. The above comment about it being like family jewelry makes perfect sense to me in that way!
They said mahogany might be found but that didn't seem right to me; I didn't think it was found that far north.
This has been a very interesting thread for me!!
#22
Old 04-12-2011, 09:21 AM
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<slight hijack>
This thread makes me think of a court case here in Stockholm. A home owner in a suburb had some trees cut down, apparently in an attempt to get a better view over the water and thereby raise the value of his house. The snag is they didn't grow on his own property. The neighbours were rightly very pissed off and the land owner, the town of Stockholm, has demanded the equivalent of about 640 000 USD in damages. It will be very interesting to see the outcome.
</slight hijack>
#23
Old 04-12-2011, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Floater View Post
<slight hijack>
This thread makes me think of a court case here in Stockholm. A home owner in a suburb had some trees cut down, apparently in an attempt to get a better view over the water and thereby raise the value of his house. The snag is they didn't grow on his own property. The neighbours were rightly very pissed off and the land owner, the town of Stockholm, has demanded the equivalent of about 640 000 USD in damages. It will be very interesting to see the outcome.
</slight hijack>
Was it a mistake, or did he just secretly go out and cut down some trees on public land?
#24
Old 04-12-2011, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by chorpler View Post
Was it a mistake, or did he just secretly go out and cut down some trees on public land?
It was definitely not a mistake. He hired some people who came in a boat, cut the trees down in spite of protests from neighbours who saw them, loaded the logs on board the boat and drove away before they could be stopped.
#25
Old 06-08-2011, 08:18 PM
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I've been searching for information regarding logging. I purchased 47 acres of land and over half is wooded. I know that it was logged once approximately 30 years ago. One of the neighbors recently logged a portion of their land. We plan to build on the property in a few years. I'm trying to figure out whether or not we should consider logging a portion of it now. I know the property has a lot of oak and poplar as well as some hickory and ash.

The neighbor that had some logged didn't appear to me to do it in a very selective manner. If I go that route I want to make sure that it's completed in a way that won't be totally destructive. Where can you find information about reputable companies to do this and how do you even begin to know what the timber is worth?
#26
Old 06-08-2011, 08:57 PM
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I'm not an expert but my husband has some property in Vermont that has a logging plan. Basically, about every 20 years they log it, but it is not clear cut. They take only the mature trees that are appropriate to be logged. It sounds like your neighbor is just clear cutting on a small piece of property.

From purely a logging perspective it probably doesn't make any difference. But certainly he is degrading the value of his land. And there is no need to clear cut. I doubt that every tree on the property was worth harvesting. So he's probably just hurting himself.
#27
Old 06-08-2011, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by phoebe View Post
Where can you find information about reputable companies to do this and how do you even begin to know what the timber is worth?
Talk with your local state agricultural extension agent. It wouldn't hurt to also talk with you state DNR. Not only might you have some valuable timber (dollar-wise) but their could be local, county or even state restrictions on harvesting some tree species.
#28
Old 06-08-2011, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by phoebe View Post
Where can you find information about reputable companies to do this and how do you even begin to know what the timber is worth?
My husband has a contract with a "forester", who does all the planning and marks the trees. The forester hires the logger who actually cuts them. The forester also makes sure the logger is doing the job properly. My husband is using the forester that his father used, and doesn't know how he found him. But I would bet if you ask around, or go to your town hall, etc. you might be able to find a recommendation for a forester.
#29
Old 06-09-2011, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nawth Chucka View Post
I was interested in this thread from the start, as I have 2 heavily wooded, never developed acres on the outskirts of Charleston County, SC. I spoke the SC forestry folks and they suggested I first have someone tell me what trees I have before making any decisions about logging, as there are very occasionally fine furniture-grade trees found in that county that are sought after by furniture makers in the Carolinas. The above comment about it being like family jewelry makes perfect sense to me in that way!
They said mahogany might be found but that didn't seem right to me; I didn't think it was found that far north.
This has been a very interesting thread for me!!
I was wondering, would it be possible to plany young mahogany trees in Washington and Oregon states, grow them to maturity and harvest them? Would the wood (pardon the pun) be different from mahogany trees grown in warmer climates? Would it be possible to have tree plantations ( a large swath of land filled with valuable trees such as hickory, oak, mahogany, etc.) in vastly different areas of the U.S. and just selectively harvest them? Of course, I'm no expert but that sounds like a neat idea.
#30
Old 06-09-2011, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Shark Sandwich View Post
Yeah, we've had this discussion before. While having trees on your property may increase the sellability, it hardly ever increases the value.
Well there's trees and then there's trees. Sure, clear-cutting provides more potential for increased value in the form of development than a complete forest canopy does, but clearcut lots with only houses on them are, to use a technical term, fugly. I'd personally pay more than 10% more for a house in a lot with several large trees on it than a completely clearcut lawn.

I don't know if it's possible to get out most of the trees from a lot but leave a few outstanding ones. All I know is that I'd rather live in a rundown house in an old, relatively crowded suburb/light urban/small town area if it had trees and sidewalks than a McMansion on its own acre or two in a clearcut lot with no sidewalk.
#31
Old 06-09-2011, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by medstar View Post
I was wondering, would it be possible to plany young mahogany trees in Washington and Oregon states, grow them to maturity and harvest them?
Mahogany is a protected species and is only grown in its native locations. Assuming it could be grown elsewhere, probably not in the Pacific Northwest because of geography, weather and general natural conditions would make it unsuitable. Politically it would be a invasive species.
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