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Timber Sales

Often timber is only sold once in a lifetime. Therefore it is imperative that the sale be well planned and carefully executed. Professional experience regarding timber volumes and current market prices are essential to secure the highest possible price for your timber.

Sales are specifically designed to achieve the owner’s objectives of management, and are conducted to receive the highest possible price for the timber offered as part of the sale. Although receiving the highest possible price for the timber is our primary goal, protecting the integrity of the property and preserving its long-term management options are also key factors that affect timber sale options. 

Timber Sale Area

Timber sale areas are designated by identifying property boundaries or timber sale boundaries with paint, or by using obvious natural boundaries such as premerchantable stands, roads, transmission line right of ways, creeks, fields, etc. All streamside management zones (SMZ’s) are identified within the timber sale area with a painted boundary. All timber sale boundaries are mapped out using an existing GIS database and/or input from GPS units to provide the location of sale boundaries. 


Clearcuts are the most efficient harvest method to reset succession. Clearcuts are often the most profitable type of timber sale, utilizing high volumes of timber within a confined acreage. These timber sales are also the best way to ensure good reforestation.
Clearcut areas are designated as described above, and are designed to fit topographic configurations and utilize natural boundaries where feasible. This method avoids the use of strict geometric patterns. The timber sale is inventoried using one of several methods, or possibly a combination of several methods. The timber inventory sampling, often referred to as “cruising,” is designed to provide a statistical significant sampling of at least 10% of the timber sale acreage. Depending on the uniformity of the forest resources within the sale area and sale acreage, some smaller timber sales may require that as much as 25% of the acreage be sampled. Extremely high valued timber may require a 100% tree count of the timber sale area to obtain accurate timber volume and value information. 

Select-Cut Harvests & Thinnings

Select-cuts or thinnings may be used in a variety of harvesting operations, including:

  • Natural regeneration harvests (seed tree cuts and shelterwood cuts
  • Crop-tree thinnings (thinning of mature timber)
  • Pulpwood thinnings
  • Removal of timber from within SMZ’s
  • Residential development harvests
  • Wildlife habitat improvement harvests

These partial harvests often require some type of designation of either the trees to be removed or the trees to leave. The desired trees are most often identified with paint, both at chest height and at the stump. Pine pulpwood thinnings (most often first thinnings) involve the removal of every fourth or fifth row of planted trees, or harvesting corridors spaced approximately every 40-50 feet. These harvests are then followed by selecting the damaged, diseased, suppressed trees for removal until the desired stocking of trees is reached.

Streamside Management Zones

Streamside Management Zones (SMZ) are designated along all riparian zones, along perennial and intermittent streams, wetland areas, and other bodies of open water within and/or in the vicinity of the tract, where extra precaution is needed in performing forest management activities. The purpose of the SMZ is to slow and spread the surface water flow and trap and filter out sediment before it reaches the stream channel or body of water. The SMZ also provides stream shade and functions as a buffer when fertilizers, pesticides, etc. are applied to the adjacent lands.  

Timber Sale Process

Clearcuts are typically sold on a lump-sum, sealed bid basis, and include a 100% payment from the buyer upon the signing of the contract or timber deed. Select-cuts and thinnings (aside from timber to be selectively harvested as part of a lump-sum timber sale) are most often sold on a negotiated basis. Such a bid process allows Cape Fear Timber to negotiate sales with established companies and loggers whose performance and reputaion are well known and respected throughout the industry.  A well managed and carefully executed thinning operation will increase growth (timber revenue), capture mortality and reduce damage associated with insect attack and disease.  Revenue from thinning operations are normally dispersed weekly.
A timber contract or purchase agreement is necessary to define the terms and conditions for all timber sales.  These agreements are important safeguards and assure that the landowner and his/her property is respected and protected.  Cape Fear Timber will supervise all harvest operations and ensure adherence to all terms within the agreement.

Best Management Practices (BMP’s)

All timber sales are designed to protect site productivity and water quality by adhering to the Best Management Practices (BMP’s) as outlined by each state’s department of natural resources. Following BMP’s involves such practices as leaving buffers along streams, installing water retention bars to prevent soil erosion, monitoring stream crossings by logging equipment, and reducing soil compaction and rutting. The buffers left along streams are explained in the above Streamside Management Zones (SMZ’s) section. Water retention bars are constructed on sections of logging roads, skid trails, and firelanes to control soil erosion. The purpose of a “water bar” is to slow the travel of water down steep slopes and divert it off traveled surfaces to prevent soil erosion. These practices help preserve longevity of the landowner’s forest and land resources and meet each state’s logging requirements where applicable.

  • Forestland

    One-third of the United States is covered by forests, making forestland the number one type of land use in the United States.  Sixty percent of North Carolina is covered in forests.


Land for Sale

Timber for Sale

Cape Fear Timber Company
PO Box 147
Elizabethtown, NC 28337
910-862-8668 (phone) 910-862-8660 (fax) 910-590-9708 (mobile)