Maine timber cutting down in ’09

Posted Nov. 25, 2010, at 3:49 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Forest Service has published its 2009 reports on timber harvesting and stumpage prices.

The Silvicultural Activities Report summarizes the number of acres that were cut under different harvesting methods, including partial harvesting, shelterwood harvesting (harvesting so selected trees can provide seeds for regeneration and shelter for seedlings), clearcutting and harvesting for land use conversion.

The Stumpage Price Report contains information about the prices Maine woodland owners received for trees they had cut on their property during 2009. The information is summarized by county, type of forest products and tree species.

“These reports help us provide the public with information about what is occurring in Maine’s forests,” said Donald Mansius, director of the Maine Forest Service’s Forest Policy and Management Division. “They are useful to land owners, land managers, policymakers or anyone with an interest in Maine’s forests.”

Harvesting activities in Maine during 2009 were much lower than previous years and reflect the economic conditions, according to MFS officials. The total number of acres harvested in 2009 — 394,100 acres — was down 15 percent from the 2008 total of 463,200 acres. Acres clearcut increased from 10,075 acres in 2008 to 14,866 acres in 2009. Clearcutting, which is used as a management tool to regenerate the forest, still amounts to less than 4 percent of the total harvested acres.

Stumpage prices paid to landowners demonstrated a downward trend, MFS officials said.

“Given the economic situation, it’s not surprising that stumpage prices overall were lower in 2009 than previous years,” Mansius said.

Since timber markets are always changing, a landowner’s best source for current pricing information is a consulting forester or their local Maine Forest Service district forester.

“A district forester will walk the land with the landowner, discuss management goals and refer the landowner to a consultant,” Mansius said. “The service is free from the Maine Forest Service.”

The Maine Forest Service strongly recommends any landowner considering having trees cut on their property engage the services of a consulting forester and have a written contract with their harvester. This ensures that everyone involved with the harvest knows what is expected, including prices for their trees.

“The Maine Forest Service is here to help landowners with any questions or concerns they may have about their trees,” said Alec Giffen, director of the Maine Forest Service.

Both reports are available online at http://www.maine.gov/doc/mfs/index.shtml.

For more information, call the Maine Forest Service toll-free at 800-367-0223 or e-mail forestinfo@maine.gov.

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