DENR urges landowners to call before selling

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 27, 2003

Cal Bryant

RALEIGH – Call before you sell.

Those are words of advice from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to landowners looking to sell off their damaged timber in the wake of Hurricane Isabel.

The September 18th storm ravaged North Carolina’s second largest industry – lumber and lumber products. An assessment conducted by DENR, both on the ground and a flyover of the most storm-ravaged counties, found that the degree of damage caused by Isabel could very easily impact the state’s economy by an estimated $566 million.

Most of that damage, projected at a total of 833,192 acres of timber, occurred in the 16 counties that were directly in or just east of Isabel’s path. More than a quarter of the timber damage occurred in Bertie County.

DENR is encouraging forest landowners in the counties affected by Isabel to do a thorough assessment of their woodsland to determine if the storm-damaged timber can recover or if salvage is necessary. Forest Rangers in each county can provide landowners with lists of reputable timber buyers and consulting foresters in their respective areas.

Along with providing sound advice on forest management, local County Rangers can also check for the presence of insects and disease in timber.

Locally, Hertford County Ranger Michael Hughes said that forest landowners have an ally in their local ranger.

&uot;A county ranger’s advice is based on the landowner’s best interests and objectives,&uot; said Hughes. &uot;Planning for the next forest begins before the current one is harvested.&uot;

Hughes said that now, especially in the wake of such a damaging hurricane, a few unscrupulous buyers will attempt to take advantage of an unknowing seller. He stressed the importance of obtaining a proper assessment of a landowner’s timber before contracts are signed.

&uot;It’s best to use a consulting forester,&uot; said Hughes. &uot;They are an agent and an appraiser rolled into one. They do charge a fee, but the number of advantages a landowner has when using a consulting forester far outweigh the price they pay for that service.&uot;

Hughes also noted that if a landowner opted not to use a consulting forester, it would be a good idea to get sealed, written bids from multiple buyers in order for the landowner to make sure they are getting a fair price of the worth of their timber.