American Forest Management Services:
Market Analysis and Stumpage Price Trends - AFM maintains a database of local timber sales. These sale records reflect timber prices by species and product class. Various characteristics that also influence product prices are recorded including:
This information allows us to monitor and track timber prices and to provide a general outlook for timber markets. We subscribe to Timber Mart-South and The Timber Sales Report, Inc. These publications supplement AFM data with more regional information. By maintaining this database, we also have the capability to determine the timber cost basis for a property acquired years ago.
- Total volume
- Volume per acre
- Volume per tree
- Logging conditions
Merchantable Timber - The timber inventory of merchantable stands is designed to provide data, which can be used to determine both current market values and future market values of existing timber under various merchantability standards. The timber inventory process involves the collection of data to determine the volume, grade and quality of the various merchantable species found on a given property.
Each inventory project has its own specific set of criteria that is collected by our foresters and forest technicians comprising the field team. The “project manager” meets with the field team on the site at the beginning of each project to review the project’s objective and design criteria. Typically, several sample plots are taken as a group to insure all members of the team approach the data collection process in a unified manner.
By designing the data collection requirements specifically to meet each client’s criteria before the fieldwork begins, and reviewing the collection process in the field before we begin, we reduce the chance of collecting inconsistent data, incomplete data or incorrect data. As an additional control on our fieldwork, senior AFM foresters “check cruise” plots behind the field team to verify consistent data collection among team members.
In a strategically significant sampling (timber cruise), the sample points are designed to include all timber types found on the property. Aerial photographs, topographic maps and existing property maps are used to determine the optimum spatial design for data collection. Statistical analysis of the property’s variability is used to determine the number of sample points required to meet the desired confidence level of the sampling. The required sample points are located on a grid pattern with the distance between points designed to obtain the required sampling intensity. Unbiased site index trees are measured at various intervals as determined by the project’s criteria. Normally the first dominant or co-dominant tree standing north and going in a clockwise direction is measured and recorded. Measurements will include the age and total height to the nearest foot.
Premerchantable Stands - Premerchantable stands are also sampled in a similar manner as merchantable stands. The sampling is conducted on a grid pattern with sufficient spacing between lines and plots to record the desired number of samples for the estimated variability of the stands. As with merchantable timber sampling, the intensity is dependent on the client’s requirements and our recommendations. The data collected for this inventory includes:
- Origin of the stand (natural or planted)
- Stocking levels (trees/acre)
- Species composition
- Identity of competition
Typically the first dominant or co-dominant tree due north moving in a clockwise direction from plot center is measured for total height. If age is not provided, that tree is bored with an increment borer to determine its age. These measurements provide a site index specific to each stand. Site index information, along with the number of trees per acre and other information collected, is used to project future timber growth and yield from the premerchantable stands, which in turn, is used to project future cash flows.