Southern Maine Forestry

Newsletter

Southern Maine


SMF Services

Timber Sale Administration

This is where the rubber meets the road in forestry. We sell to buyers who have solid reputations, sell by sealed bid or negotiate to bring the optimal price, and monitor loggers’ performance to assure that the work meets our standards. We also handle all of the record-keeping, reporting, administration, and delivery of proceeds.

Forestry Consulting:

We conduct a thorough inspection of the property, and present our documented findings to the client to come up with specific courses of action. Other consulting services include timber investment counseling, expert opinions regarding timber trespass, and property reclassification under Maine’s Tree Growth Law.

Land Management Services:

Timber stand improvement, weeding, pruning, thinning and brush control; pre timber sale lot preparation including selecting and marking trees, and road and trail layout; plantation management of Christmas trees and landscape stock, from planting and herbicide application to pruning, brush control, and marketing.

 

Resources

The Internet is becoming one of the fastest, easiest ways to gather information on a particular subject. Because of the massive amounts of information available, it can be tricky to know where to begin. Following is a list of useful forestry-related web sites. Many links are also available by visiting our web site at www.someforest.com.

forestry.about.com/science/forestry list major categories for easy searches, and offers information on alternative sources of income for tree farmers.

www.srs.fs.fed.us/index.htm is the USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station. It offers more than 900 papers by USDA scientists to browse through.

www.treefarmsystem.org is the American Tree Farm System site. In additon to the information on it’s Forests for Watersheds and Wildlife Initiative, the site offers information on current events, local assistance, and forest management.

www.reeusda.gov is the site for the Cooperative State Research, Education & Extension Service. This site offers valuable technical assistance in the form of a directory of professionals with diverse expertise.

These are just a few of the resources out there. Many more can be found by following links, or doing general searches of your own

 

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS: Having a Plan and Keeping Accurate Records

There are two important factors in forest land management that are often overlooked by owners: a business plan, and keeping good financial records. A written business plan is important in identifying an owner’s goals. While these may be very clear in one’s mind, putting it on paper can help identify whether the goals are feasible, whether the timberland will make money for the owner, and whether the business will perform as expected. A written plan can also help owners change the course of their business if necessary. Sometimes an idea looks much different on paper than it does in one’s mind.

In addition to a written business plan, keeping accurate and detailed financial records is crucial for landowners. These records have a long term effect on both taxes and decisions regarding management of the land. The Internal Revenue Code identifies three types of land owners: investment; passive business or trade; and active business or trade. The difference in classification has a large impact on the deductions available to an owner. For an owner to benefit from federal income tax laws, formal records of forestland owner’s involvement are a necessity. The same records used to figure tax benefits can help forest managers make decisions regarding the management of the land. It is by far to a tax payer’s advantage to be considered an active trade or business when it comes to deducting expenses incurred.

Records don’t need to be complicated to be effective. Each financial transaction made should be written down, with the date, a description of the activity, the part of the property involved, the type of activity, time of both the owner and hired labor, and any other expense or revenue information. An activity log describing each activity can be quite useful for recording this information. Very active landowners may want to use an electronic format of some kind (spreadsheet, or other computer program) to maintain their records. Investing the relatively small amount of time to keep accurate records initially can save much time and frustration in the long run.


Overview of Certification Schemes Available to US NIPF’S

 

Tree Farm System

Green Tag

Sustainable Forestry Initiatives (future)

Forest Stewardship Council

Organization

American Forest Foundation (AFF)

National Forestry Association

American Forest & Paper Association

Forest Stewardship Council

2nd or 3rd party?

2nd Party, by volunteer inspectors

3rd Party

2nd party

Voluntary audits by 3rd party

3rd party certifiers accredited

Chain of Custody?

No

Yes

No

Yes

Eco-label?

No

Yes

No

Yes

Other

Oldest certification scheme in US (1941)

Reinspects every five years

Under Development

Network of 400 professional foresters throughout the nation

Future scheme

Members required to participate

Members report performance annually

Expert panel reviews

World headquarters in New Mexico

Coordinating regional standards development

Source: Maine Forest Products Council

Green certification has been in the news as a number of large landowners have had the management of their lands certified. The process involves a panel of experts reviewing and grading the sustainability of the management of the forests. To date, the reasons for getting certified are mainly public relations and "feel good" benefits. One supposed benefit is that timber from certified land has the potential of getting higher prices. This premium market has yet to materialize. For the small landowner most of these schemes are expensive, and I see little benefit beyond the "feel good" factor. If you are using the services of a reputable independent forester it is unlikely that certification would change what is happening in your woods. At this time we cannot recommend any certification other than the Tree Farm program, which comes at no cost to the landowners. (RN)


Testimonials  (??)
 

 

 
 
Angeline negotiated top industry royalty rates for us. It’s something we could have never accomplished on our own.
— Adrian Zhang of The Autotunes
 
 

 
 
With Isabel, I never have to worry about my photo rights.
— Russell Inagaki
 
 

 
 
Stephen’s understanding of the legal ins and outs of startups was essential to Hydrocycle’s current success.
— Sabrina Guzman, Founder of Hydrocycle