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Keelan Staats
Keelan Staats's picture
White Pine Stumpage


i am looking for some help to put together a starting point on how to price standing timber. I have a friend with a fairly large lot of white pine. He just recently came into the property and was hoping to sell some trees. Having my own mill I am obviously interested in what his trees are worth to purchase and harvest myself. 

Does anyone have an idea as to what I can do to get an idea on how to fairly price standing white pine? I am located in southern Ontario.


r.garrison1's picture

Well, here's a couple things.


How to cruise timber, USFS document


I like the ease of the Point Sample method, or a variation.


Basically, get a map of the area, select some representative sample areas to evaluate (and if you do it well, they will be accurate for representing the entire stand area), then pick a point to scope out the trees within a certain radius. Use some kind of sight gauge to decide what diameter the trees are within that radius, and also note defects.

So, if I stand on one point, and I can see 10 trees that are 12", 7 that are 16", 5 that are 20", and 1 that is bigger (30"), and I decide to ignore the value of any tree smaller than 12".

All these trees are within 50' of me.

So, I generalize that the 12" trees are 16' tall, the 16" ones are 32', the 20" ones are 50, and the big one is 65'. This is not overall height, but where the tree has a 10" diameter (more or less).

I use this handy scale to calculate volume:

and create an assumption of each of those 4 categories. The 12' diameter tree would provide 47 BF (Scribner), the 16" tree would provide about 156 BF, and the 20" trees have 382 BF, and the one monster 30" tree has 1143 BF.

Multiply that footage by the count of trees.

Then, figure out what percentage of the entire property you have evaluated, (say 5%), then multiply up to 100% (if you did 5%, you will have to multiply your total count by 100/5, or 20.

My example would have 10X47 + 7X156 + 5X382 + 1143 = 4615 for my survey, times 20 = 92,300 BF total.


Keelan Staats
Keelan Staats's picture

Thanks those are some valuable tips.

So once you’ve organized some information about the trees how do you determine what to charge when it comes time to harvest?

i took a walk through the wood lot and there is not much to harvest due to poor drainage on the property. Most of the trees are fairly small but there are a few dozen decent sized trees that must have had better drainage and measure 12” DBH.  I am planning to put up a little barn and could use some of these trees but I am still not sure what would be a fair price to offer my friend for his trees.

eddiemac's picture

If Ontario has a government forestry service, they may publish current stumpage rates based on recent logging purchases. Missouri does that, and its findings are presented online.

r.garrison1's picture

Note that my estimation does a lot of generalization, for simplicity. I don't know if others use something more precise, but the same general process should work; maybe instead of having three categories, you may have 4 or 5. I only use it for myself; I don't cruise for others, but the system works. Only problem is that with a mixed forest, I have lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine, tamarack, doug fir, white fir, and spruce. That means I have to have a list for each species... which is why I simplify things.

Bill's picture

A lot to consider , who's logging them, is he delivering or you picking up , are they going to be clean or covered in mud , are they straight , cut to the right length , you can't accually give an offer either of you may be happy with until you cover all the variables unless your experienced in looking at standing timber and he's aware of what it's worth in reality . My expereince has been most owners of timber think it's worth a lot more than what you can realistically pay for it. But there are those that I've had offer it to me for free just to get their land logged.