From the Arkansas Forestry Commission

In the wake of the April 10 tornado in Van Buren County, some landowners may be looking into the possibility of selling the timber that was damaged by the storm. The Arkansas Forestry Commission encourages landowners to take the following steps to ensure both a satisfactory sale and the continued productivity of the forest afterward.

For starters, it is wise to be sure your property boundaries are clearly marked; this will avoid any confusion over whether timber is on your property or a neighbor’s. Depending on the amount of damage, some stands can be selectively harvested while others should be cleared and replanted. Consulting foresters can be hired to mark timber to be harvested and provide marketing services to help with a sale, if desired.

A timber sale agreement that outlines Best Management Practices to be followed should be signed by all parties. A sample agreement can be found on the Commission’s website at the following link.

Landowners should send out a minimum of two or three bids, if possible. Timber is sold by two methods: Lump sum and pay-as-cut. Be sure that you know which method your bidders are proposing. Since timber sales are often calculated by weight, it is important to sell salvage timber before the weather warms up and it starts to dry out.

To find out if you can deduct losses of your trees for tax purposes, contact a tax consultant or accountant that is knowledgeable on timber taxation rules for this information. Deductible loss is the allowable basis (value invested) in the timber minus other compensation received. A consulting forester can help you determine the amount of basis you have in your timberland. More information is available on the Commission website at the following link.

After harvesting, land owners may want to replant their property. The Commission’s Baucum Nursery has bare-root pine and hardwood seedling for sale. Arkansas’s normal planting is from December 15 to March 31. Orders may be placed with the nursery for the next planting season anytime after July 1. A list of seedlings available and pricing are available online at, by contacting Baucum Nursery at 1-888-457-4221, or by calling the Commission’s Van Buren County office in Clinton at 501.745.2933.

Storm-damaged property may have enough good trees left to let the stand grow. Landowners should have their trees evaluated by the Commission, a consulting forester, or wood product companies’ landowner assistance program (LAP) forester to determine if there are enough suitable, well-distributed trees per acre. Contact can be made with Van Buren County Ranger Mike Curtis at 501.754.2933 or Van Buren County Forester Scott Youngblood at 501.679.5310 for questions regarding your timberland.

Other resources are available through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). These include cost-share programs for reforestation or other practices. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is administered through the NRCS and makes payments to approached applicants at the rate of approximately 60 percent of total practice costs. Applications are ranked annually, usually in the early spring of each year. Contact the NRCS directly for more information.