Cooperating Forester Program
The Cooperating Forester program sponsored by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is designed to encourage landowners to work with private foresters in managing their woodlots. Increasing contact between landowners and professional foresters will promote wise stewardship of forest land in New York.
Since the results of forest management decisions can be both long lasting and hard to reverse, it is important to make these decisions carefully and intelligently.
Cooperating foresters can provide valuable information and advice critical for landowners to make long range or large scale land management decisions.
In many cases however, the professional assistance a landowner receives from a forester will pay for itself by increasing financial returns and other benefits from the woodlot.
Environmental Conservation foresters can give expert assistance and advice. They do not have the time for extensive personal service. Private foresters, on the other hand, can provide as much individual service as is needed and can perform any follow up service work that the landowner may desire.
To encourage good forestry practices, management planning and avoid damage from poorly planned cutting practices, a cooperative program between DEC and qualified consultant and industrial foresters has been established.
View a current list of Cooperating Foresters.
Why use the assistance of a forester in the management of your property?
A professional forester can help you achieve your ownership goals. A forester can recommend forestry practices and assist you in their implementation to secure the benefits you desire while enhancing the condition and value of your woodland.
Management practices can impact forest land and associated resources for a long time. Informed landowners are in a position to make careful and wise land management decisions. Professional foresters can be valuable to owners making long-range or large-scale decisions, advising of alternative management strategies, assisting in implementation of forestry activities and answering questions.
Owners may be hesitant to invest in such services, yet the professional assistance a landowner receives will frequently pay for itself by increasing financial returns and other benefits from their forest land.
If you plan to sell timber, a harvest almost always generates more income when a forester assists with the marketing. A forester can provide detailed recommendations to help insure that the residual forest conditions are in line with ownership objectives. A forester can provide an appropriate sale contract and sale administration. During the timber harvest, the forester can periodically inspect the logging, a critical step in managing your woodland.
What is a Forester?
A forester is a specialist with advanced education, using his or her abilities and knowledge of forestry and natural sciences to provide professional forestry services to private individuals, corporate and government entities. Professional ethics expects allegiance to the employer.
A consultant forester works in the private sector providing services on a fee or contingency basis, not employed by a forest industry with no direct economic interest in a timber procurement or purchasing entity.
An industrial forester may work for a wood using manufacturer or may have an economic interest in a timber purchasing or procurement entity. Industrial foresters may provide professional services to forest owners on a fee basis or other consideration such as a right of first refusal to purchase timber products that may be offered for sale from an owner's property.
DEC service foresters are located throughout the state, providing help to forest owners upon request. They can help you get started in managing your forest land.
DEC foresters provide expert assistance and free advice however they have limited time to provide extensive personal service. Private foresters on the other hand can, for a fee or other consideration provide comprehensive service as needed, complementing assistance from DEC. Your decision to initially work with a DEC forester or a private forester will depend upon the type of service, the complexity of the job and how soon you require assistance.
Many Cooperating Foresters are in a position to provide a wide array of forestry services to their clientele while others may concentrate their efforts or specialize in certain areas. You should discuss your specific needs with a private forester to determine if he or she offers those services desired.
Provisions of the Cooperating Forester Program
DEC has agreed to:
- Compile and distribute directory of Cooperating Foresters to the public and forest landowners
- Encourage landowners to use the advice and services of Cooperating Foresters in the management of their woodlands
- Promote cooperation and communication between Cooperating Foresters and DEC foresters
- Make available to Cooperating Foresters, scientific information on various aspects of forestry
- Report on accomplishments and evaluate the effectiveness of this cooperative program
Cooperating Foresters have agreed to:
- Promote science based silviculture and forest management on referred properties to meet landowner objectives and goals
- Adhere to the NYS Timber Harvesting Guidelines and the SAF Code of Ethics
- Acquire continuing forestry education
- Report to DEC, forestry accomplishments and participate in annual meetings with DEC
Services Cooperating Foresters Can Provide
Many Cooperating Foresters are in a position to provide a wide array of forestry services to their clientele, while others may concentrate their efforts or specialize in certain areas. Landowners discussing their needs with a cooperating forester should specify those services required and ascertain if the forester offers those services desired.
The following is a partial list of activities and assistance that cooperating foresters might offer as client services:
- Forest Management Planning
- 480a Forest Tax Law Plans
- Forest Stewardship Plans
- Integrated Resource Planning
- Property Management
- Boundary Line Maintenance
- Christmas Tree Management
- Timber Sale Preparation and Administration
- Recreational Leases
- Forest Stand Improvement
- Silviculture and Forest Regeneration
- Stand Analysis and Prescriptions
- Tree Planting
- Growth and Regeneration Surveys
- Environmental Services
- Assessment and Impact Studies
- Erosion Control
- Urban and Community Forestry
- Watershed Management
- Arbitration of Timber Disputes
- Expert Witness Testimony
- Inventories and Appraisals
- Damage Appraisals
- Habitat Inventories
- Timber Inventory
- Timber Theft Appraisals
- Economics and Taxation
- Capital Gains
- Estate Planning
- Feasibility Studies
- Income Tax-Form T
- Utilization Investigations
- Forest products Marketing
- Logging Engineering
- Timber Harvest Plans
- Utilization Studies
- Resource Analysis
- Other Services
- Computer Mapping
- GIS Services
- Timber Theft Prevention
Selecting a Cooperating Forester for Assistance
In selecting a Cooperating Forester to work with you, choose an individual whom you feel comfortable with, knowing that he or she will serve you and represent your best interests in matters concerning your woodland. Determine your specific needs and the services required to meet them.
Contact a number of foresters that work in your geographic area, requesting a brief proposal outlining the service they can provide to meet your individual needs. Check the forester's references. The knowledge and experience of foresters varies widely.
There are no legal standards governing foresters in New York State. Inclusion in the Cooperating Forester Directory does not imply endorsement. Make sure you have an executed contract or a letter of agreement signed by both parties that spells out the services that are to be provided, when and for what cost.
You may wish to consider the following in selecting a Cooperating Forester:
- Affiliations with professional organizations
- Society of American Foresters
- Association of Consulting Foresters
- New York Institute of Consulting Foresters
- Types and duration of experience
- Reliability - references from clients
- Fee structures
- per unit basis
- Cost estimate
- workers compensation
- Availability throughout your project
- Willingness to listen to your objectives
- Special skills
- Recommendations from others who have used such services
Cooperating Forester Affiliations
Many of the Cooperating Foresters listed in this directory have affiliated themselves with several professional organizations. A short description of each is provided and those foresters who are members are so designated in the directory. Please note that the links on this page will lead you off DEC's website.
SAF CF - Society of American Foresters Certified Forester
The Society of American Foresters (SAF) (see the link in the right column of this page) established the Certified Forester program to recognize, serve and support forestry professionals. The Certified Forester program is voluntary, nongovernmental and open to qualified SAF members and nonmembers. A Certified Forester agrees to abide by current program requirements and procedures established for certification, to maintain continuing professional development and to conduct all forestry practices in a responsible, professional manner consistent with state and federal regulations governing environmental quality and forest management practices. Further information on the Certified Forester program is available on the SAF website.
NYICF - New York Institute of Consulting Foresters
The New York Institute of Consulting Foresters is an organization of professional consulting foresters in New York State. The Institute was founded in 1978 to provide continuing education to its members, interface with the Department of Environmental Conservation on behalf of all consulting foresters in New York and offer an outreach program to the forest owners in the state.
ACF - Association of Consulting Foresters
The Association of Consulting Foresters (see the link in the right column of this page) is organized into state or multi-state chapters located in most forested regions of the U.S. ACF members operate in corporations, partnerships and sole proprietorships. Objectives of the Association include: protection of the public welfare and property in the practice of forestry, raising the professional standards and work of ACF and other consulting foresters, develop and expand the services of ACF consultants to the public and to serve as a forum for exchange of information. Further information about the ACF is available at its website.
What benefits does a forester provide when I sell timber?
A harvest almost always generates more income when a forester assists you in marketing. A forester can help you plan the harvest to protect and enhance the other values of your land that are important and may be detailed in your management plan such as aesthetics, water quality, wildlife habitat, forest health and forest productivity as well as optimizing your financial return on the timber. They can provide information on the tax implications of your timber sale.
A consulting forester can offer a wide range of services and can handle most jobs from start to finish. Or, they may handle only part of the job if you so choose. An independent, private consulting forester works for you, the landowner, not for a timber buyer or the government. A consultant can serve as your agent in a variety of technical matters related to management of your woodland.
Although an industrial forester's first obligation is to the forester's employing company, many offer high quality assistance beneficial to landowners. It is to forest industry's advantage to develop long term trusting relationships where landowners want a firm to come back time and again to harvest their timber. To develop a lasting relationship, companies may offer comprehensive services and good prices for the timber they purchase.
How much will services from a Cooperating Forester cost?
Fees charged by foresters vary considerably and change overtime as do other business costs. Therefore, specific rates are not included.
Most consultants have a range of rates depending upon the forestry service to be provided, the property size, travel distance and time required. They may charge by the hour, day, acre or the job. With timber sales, consultants often charge by a percentage of the gross sale income.
Landowners are strongly encouraged to compare costs based on different fee calculations; hour, day, acre, job or percentage. Some foresters may have a minimum fee for specific services.
Industrial foresters may not charge a monetary fee but may request other consideration for services rendered such as the right of first refusal to bid on your timber when you have a harvest.
Often landowners question if the benefits of hiring a forester are worth the costs. For many the answer is yes. Research from a number of states shows that professional forestry assistance produces higher timber sale returns and higher residual stand values. The forester's fee is frequently more than offset by these higher values.
More about Cooperating Forester Program:
- Cooperating Forester List - A Cooperating Forester is a private forester who holds at least a Bachelors degree in forest management or associated discipline, has professional forestry experience, and has voluntarily agreed to meet the standards of professional conduct and responsibilities prescribed by DEC's Cooperative Forester Program.