Timber Cruising and Appraisal


Timber cruising is a term used for any method of estimating timber volumes on a given acreage. The term was coined a long time ago, when timber buyers would walk through a stand of timber, eyeball it, and estimate the volume of sawtimber that it would produce. Though some still use the eyeball method today,  cruising  typically refers to a more scientifically based method of sampling timber volumes.

These scientific methods, taught in the accredited forestry programs of colleges and universities, rely on statistics and volume estimation formulas derived using trigonometry and calculus. Typically, the forester will design a method for placing sample plots or points on a measured grid within a forest stand. They will then measure each tree that falls within the plot or point, and tally it according to its species, diameter, and merchantable height.



Once the field work is completed, the forester takes the information to the office and computes the timber volume using the relationship between the sampled area and the entire stand. 

After the volume and stocking of each species are computed, the forester can make an estimate of the tract's timber value using information about how the various species are selling on today's market. Access to the timber, topography, overall volume and quality, and demand are all considered in the appraisal.  

Timber Cruising and Appraisal is a service that Ridgerunner Forestry regularly performs for private landowners and industry clients alike. For more on the benefits of this service, and an interesting real-life example, please click here .