Published : Forest Logger and Sawmiller, March 02 

These days as a forest grower and owner you will often hear quoted comments from forest marketing specialists and stumpage purchasers such as :

“we’ll sell your trees for more money”
“maximise your return per hectare”
“don’t sell your forest in the dark”

Normally these statements are well founded, as significant gains can be made by utilizing an independent specialist with vast knowledge in evaluating, marketing and harvesting your stand of trees. However one key aspect that not only leaves the seller in the dark but also marketing specialists and purchasers is “how much value did we actually recover in relation to the full potential recoverable value that was once standing”.

By and large the difference between the potential and actual recoverable value is primarily influenced by three key variables:

  • Accuracy of the pre-harvest inventory assessment or appraisal
  • Performance of the harvesting operation, and
  • Market influences (price and demand)

The degree to which each of these variables independently influences the financial returns to the forest owner is always very blurred.     Such comments as “the pre-harvest inventory data was incorrect”, “the harvesting crew did not recover the value” and “the market dropped out” are commonplace when predicted outcomes are not met.

The good news is that systems and tools now exist that allow forest owners to accurately reconcile the influences of pre-harvest inventory data, harvesting operations and market conditions on their financial returns.    By benchmarking the actual recovered value against what can now be accurately measured as the true recoverable value forest growers can improve their returns by 8 – 22%.