Understanding the role of each individual involved in a harvest allows woodland owners to make sure they have their interests covered and increases the likelihood of a successful timber harvest. 

• Woodland owners are in charge of the property and have the final say in which trees are harvested. As appropriate, woodland owners should try to involve family members and heirs in timber harvest planning especially those likely to care for the woods in the future. Woodland owners need to ensure loggers and every one else involved knows the boundaries, areas that need special protection and any other provisions that are important such as the use of roads, and fence and field maintenance as examples. Owners should also inform their neighbors that a timber harvest is planned—it is much better to resolve boundary issues before a timber harvest! At a minimum, follow the specifications in our timber trespass law, that indicates that all neighbors bordering the harvest receive a written notice via certified mail, restricted delivery, and return receipt requested at least 7 days in advance of the harvest (click here.)

• Professional foresters (ex. service foresters, industry foresters, consulting foresters) should be involved in timber harvesting planning. Their knowledge and training on how trees and woodlands grow and respond to harvesting is critical to ensure the future forest gets well established and the timber harvest meets your woodland management objectives. Service foresters (http://forestry.ky.gov/regionaloffices/Pages/default.aspx) with the Kentucky Division of Forestry can offer management assistance for no fee as well as mark the trees to be harvested for a small fee. Industry foresters are typically employees of a sawmill who can purchase the timber and plan the harvest. Private consulting foresters (http://www.kacf.org/) can also offer management assistance, walk woodland owners through the timber sale process, establish a timber basis for tax purposes, and represent the woodland owner’s interests during the harvest for a fee or commission.

• Loggers play the critical, and dangerous, role of harvesting and transporting a woodland owner’s logs to the sawmill. The role of the logger is to extract wood as efficiently as possible. The exact trees that loggers remove are based on what the landowner wants, market conditions, and adherence to the state mandated best man-agement practices to protect water quality. A Kentucky Master Logger (www.masterlogger.org) is required to be on-site and in charge of all commercial timber harvests. A good logger also will safeguard residual trees as much as possible. 

• Timber buyers may be a logger, a sawmill, or an independent timber buyer. Timber buyers are a party on the written contract, along with the woodland owner, and they establish the selling price of the timber once their offer or bid is accepted. Landowners are paid for their timber based on the agreed upon terms in the written contract and should make sure the contract covers all areas of concern. Examples of timber sale contracts can be found here. 

• Attorneys and tax preparers should be involved in developing and/or reviewing your written contract. They can also help to ensure your rights are enforced and that any taxes due on the income from the tim-ber sale are handled appropriately. For the latest information on timber taxes visit the National Timber Tax website at https://timbertax.org.