Department of Environmental Conservation

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Timber Theft on Private Land

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Timber theft is a concern for all landowners and the forestry community. Theft of timber from forest lands can destroy generations of careful forest stewardship and cause irreparable environmental damage.

The best way to deal with timber theft is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Landowners can reduce their risk by taking the following steps:

  • Landowners should be familiar with their property.
  • Be sure you know where your property boundaries are.
    • If boundary lines are unclear, a licensed surveyor can help.
  • Use and maintain posted signs and paint to mark boundaries.
  • Make sure the property is monitored when you are away for long periods.
  • Be aware of logging operations and other forest management activities on neighboring properties.
  • Inspect your boundaries often.
  • Use a professional forester and have a well written contract when conducting timber harvests.

Be aware if you accept money from someone stealing your trees, regardless of the amount, you have received compensation and it may no longer be considered theft.

How to Report Timber Theft on Private Land

DEC's Environmental Conservation Police are experienced at investigating instances of timber theft. To report a suspected timber theft contact your local DEC Environmental Conservation Officer (ECO), or the Report all Poachers and Polluters hotline at 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267). Be ready to provide complete information about:

  • Who was involved
  • What was taken
  • Where and when the theft occurred
  • Other relevant facts

Additional Theft Prevention Resources

For additional theft prevention Information: