Timber sales have always been and will continue to be the driving source of business for KRM. Sales are specifically designed to achieve the owner’s objectives of management, and are conducted to receive the highest possible price for the timber offered as part of the sale. Although receiving the highest possible price for the timber is our primary goal, protecting the integrity of the property and preserving its long-term management options are also key factors that affect timber sale options.
Timber Sale Area
Timber sale areas are designated by identifying property boundaries or timber sale boundaries with paint, or by using obvious natural boundaries such as premerchantable stands, roads, transmission line right of ways, creeks, fields, etc. All streamside management zones (SMZ’s) are identified within the timber sale area with a painted boundary. All timber sale boundaries are mapped out using an existing GIS database and/or input from GPS units to provide the location of sale boundaries.
Clearcuts are the most efficient harvest method to reset succession. Clearcuts are often the most profitable type of timber sale, utilizing high volumes of timber within a confined acreage. These timber sales are also the best way to ensure good reforestation.
Clearcut areas are designated as described above, and are designed to fit topographic configurations and utilize natural boundaries where feasible. This method avoids the use of strict geometric patterns. The timber sale is inventoried using one of several methods, or possibly a combination of several methods. The timber inventory sampling, often referred to as “cruising,” is designed to provide a statistical significant sampling of at least 10% of the timber sale acreage. Depending on the uniformity of the forest resources within the sale area and sale acreage, some smaller timber sales may require that as much as 25% of the acreage be sampled. Extremely high valued timber may require a 100% tree count of the timber sale area to obtain accurate timber volume and value information.
Select-Cut Harvests & Thinnings
Select-cuts or thinnings may be used in a variety of harvesting operations, including:
- Natural regeneration harvests (seed tree cuts and shelterwood cuts
- Crop-tree thinnings (thinning of mature timber)
- Pulpwood thinnings
- Removal of timber from within SMZ’s
- Residential development harvests
- Wildlife habitat improvement harvests
These partial harvests often require some type of designation of either the trees to be removed or the trees to leave. The desired trees are most often identified with paint, both at chest height and at the stump. Pine pulpwood thinnings (most often first thinnings) involve the removal of every fourth or fifth row of planted trees, or harvesting corridors spaced approximately every 40-50 feet. These harvests are then followed by selecting the damaged, diseased, suppressed trees for removal until the desired stocking of trees is reached.
Streamside Management Zones
Streamside Management Zones (SMZ) are designated along all riparian zones, along perennial and intermittent streams, wetland areas, and other bodies of open water within and/or in the vicinity of the tract, where extra precaution is needed in performing forest management activities. The purpose of the SMZ is to slow and spread the surface water flow and trap and filter out sediment before it reaches the stream channel or body of water. The SMZ also provides stream shade and functions as a buffer when fertilizers, pesticides, etc. are applied to the adjacent lands.
Timber Sale Process
Clearcuts are typically sold on a lump-sum, sealed bid basis, and include a 100% payment from the buyer upon the signing of the contract or timber deed. Select-cuts and thinnings (aside from timber to be selectively harvested as part of a lump-sum timber sale) are most often sold on a negotiated basis. This allows KRM to negotiate the thinning sales only with timber companies that have reputable loggers. The quality of a thinning operation is extremely important towards the future growth and value of a timber stand. It is typical for KRM to require timber buyers to pay an advanced deposit of 30%-50% of the anticipated harvest income from which the initial weekly stumpage is deducted on all thinning sales. Once the advance payment is depleted, weekly stumpage checks are issued through the completion of the harvest.
Timber contracts and agreements stipulate the terms and conditions of the timber sale for clearcuts, select-cuts, and thinnings. These terms and conditions are designed specifically for each individual sale to ensure that the landowner’s forest and land resources are protected. Once a successful buyer is determined, timber contracts are signed, and consideration is paid, KRM then supervises all logging activities and enforces the terms and conditions of the sale.
Best Management Practices (BMP’s)
All timber sales are designed to protect site productivity and water quality by adhering to the Best Management Practices (BMP’s) as outlined by each state’s department of natural resources. Following BMP’s involves such practices as leaving buffers along streams, installing water retention bars to prevent soil erosion, monitoring stream crossings by logging equipment, and reducing soil compaction and rutting. The buffers left along streams are explained in the above Streamside Management Zones (SMZ’s) section. Water retention bars are constructed on sections of logging roads, skid trails, and firelanes to control soil erosion. The purpose of a “water bar” is to slow the travel of water down steep slopes and divert it off traveled surfaces to prevent soil erosion. These practices help preserve longevity of the landowner’s forest and land resources and meet each state’s logging requirements where applicable.