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Learn about the timber selling process in Georgia
Selling timber is a complex and confusing process for most land owners. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer or single resource that can make you an expert in buying and selling timber in Georgia. This page will introduce you to some timber selling basics.
As with any business transaction, the key to optimal success is understanding the pieces and how they relate. We can guide you through the timber selling process, and answer any questions.
A key element (which fluctuates) is current timber market prices. For more timber price information and pricing resouces you may visit our page on timber pricing. We recommend reading the information on this page.
Types of Timber Sales
Selling Stumpage (Standing Timber)
Most land owners who are selling timber are seeking a logging company who will cut down and remove standing timber. In this case your trees are referred to as "stumpage". Stumpage sales are generally handled as:
- Lump Sum Stumpage - The logging company pays you a single sum for the trees they are authorized to remove. This is typically for clear cutting and is based on an estimate of the value of trees within a stand. Lump sum is not based on the actual volume of timber removed.
- Sale by Unit Stumpage - The logging company pays you for the trees removed. This is based on whatever you negotiate with the logging company. This requires some form of measurement of the timber, and a base unit price. Timber measurement units are volume based, typically cubic feet or board feet. Sale by Unit is typically used for selective cutting projects.
Selling Logs (Felled Timber)
Selling logs requires the landowner to cut and pile logs for removal by a logger or timber broker. Most land owners should not use this option as it requires a reasonable knowledge of the timber industry. A land owner would need to obtain any required permits, procure insurance, hire crews and possibly buy or rent equipment. If you lack experience or funds for this type of endeavor, you should not try to do the work yourself.
It is important to remember that logs are organic, and subject to rotting and destruction by insects. If you have felled timber (logs), you should sell them as quickly as possible. Logs that are damaged will have greatly diminished to no value.
Selling timber as logs is a Sale by Unit transaction. The measurement process takes into consideration the factors mentioned above, and how the logs can be processed. Although this may seem arbitrary, there is a standardized way to evaluate the value of logs.
*Don't overlook the impact of Capital Gains taxes on timber sales.