More than 60 percent of North Carolina is forested, but much of this valuable resource is not actively managed. Properly managed forests can generate extra money from the sale of timber products; improve wildlife habitat, aesthetics, recreation, and water quality; and increase land value. By seeking the assistance of a professional forester, you can maximize the return on your forestlands.

Seeking Professional Advice

There are a number of factors to consider when seeking professional advice. Here are some questions to ask:

What are your qualifications?

  • How many years of experience do you have, and what type of experience have you had?
  • What is your educational background?

In North Carolina, registered foresters generally hold a bachelor of science or higher degree in forestry or have shown equivalent knowledge by passing the examination given by the N.C. Board of Registration for Foresters.

What are your fees, and what services do you provide?

Fees and services offered by professional forest- ers vary considerably. Fees may be based on an hourly, daily, or acreage rate or may be based on a percentage of gross revenues generated by a contracted activity such as a timber sale.

Are you associated with a sawmill or wood products firm?

Some forest industries employ foresters who can help landowners manage their private forestland, but many of these businesses also buy timber. To prevent a possible conflict of interest, avoid management advice from those who buy timber.

Can you provide references from previous clients?

Talk to the people who provide references to see if they were satisfied with the services they received. Ask these questions:

  • Was the forester willing to discuss management goals and options on your property?
  • Was the forester willing to manage for multiple species and products?
  • Was the forester available throughout the project?

Ask to visit sites to see the results of their forestry work “on the ground.”

To verify if a forester is registered in North Carolina, contact the N.C. Board of Registration for Foresters at 919-847-5441 or online at

Once you select a qualified forester, you should sign a contract. Include a list of services to be performed and specify who will perform them, when they will be performed, and how the forester will be paid for those services.

See a Forester First

A couple was recently offered an unsolicited bid of $20,000 for their 20 acres of mature pine saw timber. Realizing the complexity of selling timber, the couple hired a consulting forester to watch out for their interest.

The consulting forester, who worked on a contract price for a percentage of the gross revenue, conducted a sealed-bid timber sale. Gross revenue from the sale was $39,895—$19,895 more than the original unsolicited bid.This increase in income was significantly higher than the fee charged by the consulting forester.

Sources of help to North Carolina private forest owners

Available Services Cooperative Extension Division of Forest Resources Farm Service Agency Natural Resources Conservation Service Wildlife Resources Commission Consulting Forester Industry Landowner Assistance Forester
References & information Always Always Sometimes Usually Always Sometimes Usually
Educational workshops Always Usually Usually Usually
On-site visits Usually Always Always Always Always Usually
Management plans Advice only Always Advice only Sometimes Always Usually
Cost-share opportunities Advice only Always Always Usually Advice only Advice only Advice only
Boundary surveys Always
Timber appraisals Always
Timber sale contracts Advice only Advice only Always Sometimes
Timber marked for sale Sometimes Always Sometimes
Logging oversight Advice only Advice only Always Sometimes
Site prep and planting Advice only Usually Advice only Usually Sometimes
Wildlife management Advice only Advice only Advice only Usually Sometimes
Prescribed burning Advice only Always Usually Advice only
Timber stand improvements Advice only Advice only Advice only Usually Sometimes

North Carolina requires foresters to be registered. Registered foresters must meet educational and experience requirements. A North Carolina registered forester can be identified by the following credential:

For further information concerning forestland management and hiring a professional forester, please contact your local Cooperative Extension Center or North Carolina Forest Service office. Also, see Extension forestry’s web site:

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Published in May 2005

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