Land Ownership, Liability, and the Law in North Carolina

A change in North Carolina law makes it possible for landowners to open their lands with less concern about liability in case of an accident or mishap. It is now possible for landowners to allow the public on their property for educational and recreational reasons, when no fee is charged. Under these circumstances, a landowner is required to provide the duty of care owed to a trespasser. The following note explains the major laws impacting landowners’ liability in North Carolina and the responsibilities landowners have for invited and uninvited users of their property.

Landowner’s Guide to Timber Sale Contracts

A written timber sale agreement or contract is generally the preferable and safest method of selling timber. A written contract is a legally binding document that protects both the buyer and the seller (the landowner) from misunderstandings that may develop in the absence of such an agreement. A contract will verify the seller’s ownership of the timber to be sold and the absence of liens or other liabilities. There is little legal recourse with verbal agreements. By negotiating a contract, both parties are likely to work out difficulties before they occur and be more pleased with the transaction.

Precommercial Thinning Contract Considerations

When a stand of trees regenerates naturally from seed sources or stump sprouts, often the outcome is too many tree seedlings are produced, or the seedlings are not evenly spaced across the tract. The resulting thicket of under-sized trees will require substantial time to become a healthy or high-quality forest. In this situation, a precommercial thinning can remove a defined amount of the new trees, thereby providing more ample growing space, sunlight and soil nutrients for the remaining trees and reducing the amount of time required to grow a quality and healthy forest.

Reforestation Contracts

The reforestation of a plot of land can often be a complicated process. It may include site preparation by chemical or mechanical means, tree planting, prescribed burning, and cull tree removal. Many forest landowners are unable to perform these tasks on their own and must hire a vendor with the manpower and equipment to do the job for them.

Steps to Successful Pine Plantings

Successful pine plantings require a well-prepared site, quality seedlings, proper storage and field care of seedlings, and timely planting by a crew trained in proper planting techniques. Most landowners contract with a vendor for such services. This note gives information on (1) key clauses to include in any contract and (2) conditions which affect seedling survival and early growth.

Timber Sale Agreements

A timber sale often involves a substantial sum of money, not to mention that such a sale is something the typical landowner does infrequently. Anyone considering a timber sale should not rely on personal judgement, but should confer, instead, with a forester or an attorney experienced in timber sales.

Timber Sale and Harvesting Contracts

A timber sale can be a source of great satisfaction to a landowner, or it may be a source of surprise, frustration, and stress. Unfortunately, the latter is often true for landowners who make timber sales infrequently.

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