How to Harvest Timber ResponsiblyJan 22, 2024
We all want to be good stewards of the land we've been given responsibility over. And this is never more true than when it comes time to do our harvesting. So the question always remains... how can I ensure I harvest timber responsibly, not only for the stewardship of the land but also the t's and i's associated with timber harvesting logistics!
And the first thing we need to get rid of is the guilt most often associated with harvesting timber. I often see eyes full of uncertainty during logging operations. But let's take a peak at Ecclesiastes for a second...
A Time for Everything: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
In Ecclesiastes, we find timeless wisdom that speaks to the various seasons of life. I specifically appreciate how in these seasons of life, there was enough wisdom to express times for our own land management: "a time to plant and a time to uproot." (3:2) Timber cutting should be viewed as part of the natural and biblical cycle of life. This scripture encourages us to recognize the appropriate times for harvesting, respecting the balance inherent in God's design. And in Genesis 8:22 we see God say with his own mouth that as long as the earth endures, there will be seedtime and harvest! Harvest is a reward from God for us in a stewarding job well done.
That brings me to the point of stewarding our resources to become more productive, more profitable specifically.
The Parable of the Talents: Matthew 25:14-30
We see Jesus himself use the parable of the talents as a way to highlight the importance of wise and productive use of the resources entrusted to us. Each of us has been entrusted to manage a different level of resources, whether it is simple basic finances or our land base. We each have different amounts, according to our abilities (25:15) But the two that took their resources they were given and GREW them to become more productive, to become profitable, were the ones considered faithful stewards (25:21,23). The one who refused to manage it and just keep the status quo was look at, by Jesus, as lazy (25:26). If we understand that it is wise and expected to profitably grow our resources, and that there is a season and call to harvest everything in life at the appropriate times... why do we get weird when it comes to gaining profit from our timber? This parable can be interpreted in many different manners... but since we are using scripture to help guide everything in our life, including our land decisions... it can be concluded that we should follow suit from the lessons of the Parable of the Talents.
Our land isn't truly ours, but is God's, and we are simply the stewards of it for Him. We are expected to manage appropriate, which includes growing our resources for a productive profit. And the best way we can show growth and profit and stewardship on our land? Through timber sales, at the appropriate times in the appropriate manners.
So HOW do I ensure I harvest timber responsibly?
First, make sure you're working with a forester: whether through the county or a consultant. A county forester won't be able to conduct the timber sale for you, BUT will be able to advise whether your timber is ready to be harvested, and what type of harvest method would be best for you based on your objectives. Because as we went through above, we want to ensure we're harvesting at the right times. So that's step one.
IF it is the appropriate time, I highly recommend working with a consultant forester as your representative during the operations. Not only will their connections naturally give you a leg up in profit margins, easily well worth their percentage rate, they will also remove the stress load of managing the operations. Timber harvesting often take way longer than you anticipate, and if you don't have the right eyes... you may not be able to tell the difference in true "problematic operations" compared to just shell-shock from the landscape transformation. A good consultant will also help keep your eyes on the big picture of what you're looking to in the future. If you have no idea how to find the right consultant, check out my podcast episode HERE to give you some good tips to get started.
And if you want to remove ALL those "what if" questions, you can check out my FREE AUDIO here which explains exactly how timber gets sold, or you can jump in and get immersed in everything you didn't know you needed to know about how to harvest timber responsibly!
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