Timber Appraisals and Cruises
Many circumstances arise where someone needs to know the value of a particular tract of timber (appraisal) or needs a cruise (an inventory of the timber present). An appraisal is usually based on a cruise.
Laymen often call me for assistance telling me they need/want an appraisal or a cruise without a full understanding of the terminology. As generally applied, a cruise (inventory) is a measurement of the volume of timber present on an area. This is generally done by statistical sampling of 5 to 10% or more conducted in a systematic manner. Information gathered from sample plots is projected forward to estimate the total volume of timber present. Obviously the smaller the sample and fewer the plots, the less a cruise will cost. An appraisal is a dollar valuation of the timber based on the cruise.
I consider there are 3 different levels of appraisals and/or cruises. The first is not really a cruise at all but it is what many people mean when they ask me for one. It is simply a walk through or reconnaissance, possibly taking several sample plots. What I am able to give you after such a reconnaissance is a general evaluation and a very rough estimate of the volume of timber you may have to sell or if you even have enough to sell at all. I cannot guarantee any numbers I may give you from such a reconnaissance because I have not gathered sufficient data on which to base any numbers. This is the least expensive thing I can do for you, however, and is based on my hourly rate. Many people find it useful to know if they have timber to sell -- and if so -- some idea if it is worth them exploring a timber sale further.
The second method is based on a statistical sample or inventory. It is derived from systematically taken sample plots at a given intensity -- 10% of the area for instance. The resulting information is considered accurate within certain confidence levels. Information gathered this way is often obtained for tax purposes, land sale purposes, or when all of the merchantable timber on an area is going to be removed. A cruise of this type is also based on my hourly rate.
The third method is most accurate and does not involve sample plots but the measurement of each individual tree. This is usually only warranted when some kind of selection harvest is to be done and where only selected trees will be harvested Only trees to be sold are measured and are marked with tree marking paint. This is the type of service that I normally provide when I directly assist landowners with a timber sale on commission. See the "Timber Sales" tab.
I am able to help you with any of the three scenarios listed above based on what you need. As part of determining volume, I also provide an analysis of the volume, tree species, and quality of the trees inventoried to arrive at a fair market value (appraisal).
Appraisals for Tax Basis
When acquiring a piece of wooded property from which timber may someday be harvested, an appraisal is a necessity to establish a basis of the timber value relative to the land itself for future tax considerations.
This is often overlooked by landowners when purchasing property. Not having this information may cost considerably in taxes when a timber sale is made.
Expert Witness Testimony
In cases of timber trespass, theft, or other legal issues related to forestland, I can provide expert witness testimony in court on your behalf.
Did you know that under Kentucky law (KRS 364.130) if someone crosses your property line and cuts timber on your property without your permission that you are entitled to receive triple damages in court?
This law applies if the logger or adjacent landowner did not notify you in advance of their intention to harvest.
If called upon, I will estimate the volume and value of any timber illegally cut or removed from your property and then help you recover damages.