What's Included in a Timber Cruise

Fine points of what a forester may or may not count when inventorying a stand of timber. April 18, 2009

I was talking to a forester who does a lot of timber cruises around here and he says he doesn't count the beech, gum and sycamore trees in the cruise. I thought they were added in. Is that the way the other foresters cruise timber?

Forum Responses
(Forestry Forum)
From contributor Z:
A forest cruise is an inventory, so when inventorying a landowner's forest, if there's not a local market for certain species, they don't need to be counted. Then again if the landowner/forester needs total tree count, basal area etc, everything is counted. A forest inventory can be customized to the landowner's/foresters need.

From contributor W:
That's sure a poor way of doing an inventory. An inventory is supposed to include trees of all species. Just because it doesn't have the same value as oak or maple doesn't mean it shouldn't be counted. A marked sale is an inventory of the marked trees. I suppose itís ok for the forester to not count trees that aren't up to his specs? I've seen guys do that to pad their scale so the logger gets overrun.

From the original questioner:
Thatís what I thought too, that it was supposed to include all saw timber trees.

From contributor S:
I totally agree with contributor W. I've cruised in BC for the MOF and if more than one tree was missed you had to go back at your own expense and redo that whole cruise. They did audits on a percentage of your cruises. On those cruises it took an average of 45 minutes to tally each point. We had red alder and sometimes western yew in plots that may not have had a local market, but had to be measured and counted if they were in.

From contributor J:
In order to best manage a forest, before you harvest you should have an idea of total basal area that will be left after the harvest. This can't be done without tallying all trees. Sometimes it understood that dead trees will either be taken or knocked down during the operation, so they may not be tallied and these trees may increase final stumpage a tiny bit. Really depends on the forester and his method. In this area it is pretty well understood that any beech with beech bark disease will be removed or at least cut down.