What is a Timber Cruise?

Timber cruises are performed by consulting registered professionals who have been extensively trained in the timber field to determine the characteristics of forest stands in preparation for sales.

By: National Land Realty

If you’re a landowner in the Southeast region of the U.S., then you’ve probably heard of the term, “timber cruise,” before. These cruises don’t involve any ships that stop at tropical forest locations, but they are a great tool for landowners with timber land. Here’s a general overview of what they are and what they’re for!

According to the U.S. Forest Service, timber cruising “is the process of measuring forest stands to determine stand characteristics, such as average tree sizes, volume, and quality. The primary purpose of cruising is to obtain a volume estimation to appraise and prepare timber sales.”

Timber cruises are performed by consulting foresters, registered professionals who have been extensively trained and are experts in the timber field. Cruises are done for a variety of reasons. Like mentioned above, timber cruises are a way for landowners to take inventory of the timber on their property and determine its value - whether it’s for figuring out when it’s ready to harvest or to see the amount that’s merchantable (or “sellable”). It can also be done as part of a forest management plan that a forester usually helps a landowner create and set. Timber cruises can also be used to establish a tax basis and help with long-term management plans when it comes time to harvest.

To begin a timber cruise, a landowner will first contract a forester. And in order to get accurate and helpful information about the timber on your property, a landowner will need to work with a forester that has many years of timber cruising experience – someone who has continuously performed them over the years and is up to date with the current market. Contracting an experienced forester to do a timber cruise of your property will also ensure you get the most value out of your timber if you decide to sell later.

After the forester performs the analysis, he or she will produce a report with the findings of the survey. These reports can be as detailed as the landowner would like. They can also include recommendations for a long-term plan of the timber land. This, of course, depends on the needs and goals of the landowner.

Need help determining the value of your timber land? Our team of Land Professionals includes several registered foresters. Visit our website, to find someone in your area!


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