Author Topic: Forest Management - Woodlot  (Read 1369 times)

sammy

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Forest Management - Woodlot
« on: August 31, 2017, 08:55:50 PM »
Hey All,

I'm wondering if there is anyone out there that manages there own private woodlot and how big it needs to be to make a decent side income. I live in British Columbia, Canada and have some private forest land within the interior that grows Cedar, Hemlock, Fir and Birch. I'm considering managing this woodlot (i.e. harvesting, planting, brushing, pruning, etc.) so the amount of wood I cut each year is sustainable. The property is paid off, so no debts are owing and the size is fairly large (500 acres) so I'm wondering if I could make a go of this venture.

I'd be interested to hear anyone else who has tried this - specifically if they are from British Columbia, but anyone is welcome.

Also, I'd love to hear wood prices from other areas: Current market in my location is:
cedar sawlog - $150/m3
cedar poles - $185/m3
Hemlock sawlog - $55/m3
Fir Peeler - $95/m3
Fir Sawlog - $75/m3
Birch - $35/m3

Thanks,

S

bwall

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Re: Forest Management - Woodlot
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2017, 05:53:58 AM »
I've been looking at doing the same thing in Puerto Rico. Our rain forests are different than your rain forests, but this is what I've learned:

1) Educate yourself. Buy a book on forestry--go to amazon and read the reviews to get an idea of which book. Read it. Buy another book. Read it. Learn as much as you can.

2) 500 acres is a huge tract of land. Plenty large enough to make a go of it, as you say.

3) Educate yourself: Contact your local forestry agent/office and pick their brain. Find out what the risks are (pests, diseases) and how to avoid. Maybe they give away seedlings?

4) Go upmarket; plant only the trees that will give the greatest return on your investment. Leave the cheap stuff (birch) for someone else. There are millions of square miles of birch in Eastern Europe and Russia, they'll never be worth anything. Perhaps there are other trees that you can plant that are even more valuable than cedar?

5) Educate yourself: Contact the local university and find a way to work with their forestry department.

6) The prices are dictated by the world market, not the local market. The rise of China and India will greatly increase the quantity demanded of wood and wood products. So long term the prices should rise.

7) Educate yourself: Contact your local sawmill and get prices from them. Get a feel for them as well--are they honest? Do they do good work?

The great thing about a forest is that it grows every year, regardless of the economy. If the price isn't to your liking, just wait. Next year you'll have even more wood.

Questions: How long have you had the forest? Has it already been harvested? Were the trees naturally occurring, or did someone plant them? How many m3 per ha (or acre) can you harvest from mature trees? What is the time to maturity?

Teak goes for $600 m3 and mahogany for 1250 m3 as round wood. Most tropical hardwoods are in that range now thanks to China and India. Strangely, almost no one in Puerto Rico recognizes the value of tropical hardwood timber.

sammy

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Re: Forest Management - Woodlot
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2017, 09:05:08 PM »
Bwall,

Thanks for the reply. Yes, I've been reading as much as I can about forest management as there is lots of good online information about it. The one product that seems to grow fast and yield top dollar is black walnut - so I'll be looking into it to see if my soil/environment conditions are right for it to grow in.

The first step I'm going to do is to figure out my annual allowable cut (AAC) which is the amount I can take off the property per year sustainably (i.e. growth rate matches the harvest rate). This is definitely a sustainable plan and something I may be able to pass along for generations if done properly. Also, there seems to be a great advantage if you can cut the wood and market it yourself. A bandsaw mill can be had for ~$10,000 and allow you to take advantage of the full value chain.


Anyone else doing this out there? I know its hard work, but it is rewarding work!

Thanks,

Sammy

Carma

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Re: Forest Management - Woodlot
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2017, 09:24:54 PM »
If you go into your local FLNR office in BC the Woodlot Forester on staff should be able to answer many of your questions, and can help you get started. I know in my region the Woodlot Foresters are always open to helping newcomers to the business navigate the beaurocratic red tape. One piece you may want to look into is what Registered Professional Foresters in your area charge to create or sign off on your management plans (unless, of course, you are an RPF yourself?) Source: work for FLNR (but not the forestry end)

Debonair

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Re: Forest Management - Woodlot
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2017, 12:51:22 AM »
My grandparents have a lot they harvest. They don't cut every year and if I remember correctly Black Walnut is the big money maker for them. Either way prices  trend up so it sound like a good thing to look into
I write a travel blog, it has nothing to do with finance except I prefer traveling over "real work": http://debonairdylan.com

Elderwood17

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Re: Forest Management - Woodlot
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2017, 02:26:30 PM »
I have a little over 150 acts of mostly hardwoods in Missouri.   The state conservation department has consultants for private land management that have been invaluable in giving free (!) advice on how much to harvest, who to sell to, etc.    See what resources your local agencies may have!

Fishindude

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Re: Forest Management - Woodlot
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2017, 07:15:11 AM »
I have logged woodlots on my properties twice in the last 30 years.  I recommend hiring a private forester to mark the trees you want cut, estimate board footage, get bids for you and oversee the logging.  The cost of the forester is not much and it will help you get more bids from interested loggers, resulting in more $$ in your pocket.

Note - You'll get a nice little windfall, but don't expect to get rich, timber just isn't worth that much.

bwall

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Re: Forest Management - Woodlot
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2017, 08:47:04 AM »
Note - You'll get a nice little windfall, but don't expect to get rich, timber just isn't worth that much.

What were you offered per board foot? For what kind of tree/wood?

hgjjgkj

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Re: Forest Management - Woodlot
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2017, 02:10:53 PM »
I have spent some time on a couple of forestry sites. I checked my area and was surprised at how cheap the land was for Timber. Typically when I look at real estate, or land based commodity opportunities like oil, the upfront land cost is very expensive, but I was seeing land prices at 2,500 an acre.

Any idea where I could reach out to better understand what a P&L statement for a private Timber farm would look like? I am at a stage where understanding basic terms like pine sawlogs vs hardwood sawlogs would be illuminating.