Planning and putting into action a timber harvest or other forest operation can be a complicated undertaking filled with pitfalls. There are unit boundaries to be marked in the field, contracts to be written, and the Oregon Forest Practices Act to comply with, among other sometimes-thorny tasks. If you’re not experienced with these endeavors, you may wish to consider hiring a consulting forester to assist you.
What Does a Consulting Forester Do?
A consulting forester will work on your behalf to help you meet your forest management objectives. Though each one has their own unique work history and expertise, consultants experienced with family forestland owners are usually well-versed in typical forest operations and can:
- Develop a forest management plan to identify opportunities and recommend a schedule of activities to meet your management goals.
- Plan and manage a contract logging job or timber sale to maximize your financial returns and comply with environmental and local regulations.
- Write and implement a custom reforestation prescription to establish a free-to-grow stand of seedlings.
- Identify and administer silvicultural investment opportunities such as thinning and fertilization. Cruise and appraise timber for estate planning or acquisition purposes.
- Represent you and provide expert testimony in a timber trespass or other forestland dispute.
In short, a consulting forester can help you realize your vision for the future of your woodlands. So, how do you find the right consulting forester for the job at hand? One approach is to ask other family forestland owners for a recommendation. Or, you might consider getting in touch with the Oregon Small Woodlands Association to attend, and better yet, join your local chapter!
Association of Consulting Foresters
Another resource for finding just the right consultant is the Association of Consulting Foresters, or “ACF”. ACF is the national association for consulting foresters. Members of ACF must meet strict standards for practical forestry experience; ethics; and education, including continuing education.
Lastly, you may wish to seek a forester who has achieved “Certified Forester” status by the Society of American Foresters, or SAF. SAF is the national association for professional foresters. An SAF “Certified Forester” is recognized as having met and adhered to certain minimum academic preparation, professional experience, continuing education, and professional standards. Applicants have also passed a competency examination.