IDNR warns landowners to check the value of their trees

Illinois forest landowners stand to be paid record-high prices for their mature forest trees and logs on farm and forest holdings, thanks to outstanding market prices for hardwood logs and ­lumber. The Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Division of Forest Resources is urging forest landowners to ­consult with a professional ­forester before agreeing to sell.

“Many landowners don’t ­realize the full market value of their ­forest trees and because of it, they are often paid only 10 to 30 cents on the dollar. Some of them are never paid at all,” said Paul Deizman, IDNR Forest Inventory, Utilization and Marketing ­manager. “Though most timber buyers, logging companies, and other forest operators doing business in Illinois are legitimate, some unscrupulous operators may try to take advantage of landowners, especially during times of high timber prices. Bad deals are often initiated directly with unsuspecting landowners at their front door, by mail, or by attractive advertising.”

IDNR foresters want forest landowners to do some homework and exercise caution before agreeing to any timber offer. The IDNR maintains a “Call Before You Cut” toll-free hotline through which landowners can discuss timber and forest management with IDNR Division of Forest Resources personnel, who are available to offer the best advice on how to proceed when selling timber. The hotline number is 1-888-244-1706.

“That advice can help forest landowners protect the ­forest resource and ensure that they realize the actual, and often significant, market value of their timber,” Deizman said. “Contacting an IDNR forester first is our best advice.”