There are few things we enjoy quite as much as taking a walk in the woods. When a client calls, we love finding out more about their property and setting up a time to chat.
During the lockdown, we’ve had fewer chances to meet with property owners face-to-face. That’s caused is to use the time to reflect a bit about how a typical inspection goes and it’s also prodded us to share what is often a typical experience. For many landowners, their first meeting with one of our foresters is the first time they’ve started to assign a value to their trees. Many have no idea what to expect, and some are even nervous about the prospect of having an expert tell them about their own land.
We don’t like to think of that way. Our foresters take a lot of pride in appreciating the overall and long-term health of properties. It’s in their very best interest to ensure landowners make informed, responsible decisions regarding their property and in selecting which trees to harvest. One we’re in the woods, we typically see the mood change; in nature, it’s easier to speak freely, relax, and envision your property for generations to come.
Oftentimes, we like to talk about potential, not volume. For example, if one maple is at 14” in diameter and has the potential to reach 24”, that tree might be best left alone for the next harvest. Conversely, a beech tree worth less but at its full growth is prime cut; it won’t be more valuable tomorrow or in five years than it is right now.
It’s easy to get stuck on the number of trees, but value has so many more meanings than volume. It’s not uncommon for two foresters to offer estimates on the exact same property and hand the property owner to completely different options. One may be looking to target the most valuable trees right now, limiting the cut to a few dozen of the most expensive species. The other may suggest a harvest of over 100 trees, taking less valuable trees or those at full maturity and making room for more high-demand trees to fully mature.
There are costs and benefits to both approaches, but for the landowner, it’s about assigning value. What matters more to me personally, and what is best for the long-term health and vibrance of my property? A reliable, trustworthy forester will offer all the facts and make suggestions based on both points of view. Property owners don’t always take those recommendations, but we always value our integrity and commitment to giving owners all the information they need.
Throughout the year, many of these meetings don’t lead to a harvest. Whether by choice or by hesitation, landowners may decide to wait, making our time with them simply a nice walk in the woods. The next time you need a keen eye on the health and future of your forest, let us join you for a stroll.