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Find a Cooperating Forester

A forester has an advanced forestry and natural sciences education and provides professional services to landowners. Whatever your goals are for your forest, a professional forester can help.

Cooperating foresters (PDF) can provide you with in-depth technical assessments and planning that DEC foresters don't offer. For example, conducting a timber sale, creating forest trails, or even managing your forest to store carbon. DEC's Cooperating Forester Program provides a list of consulting and industrial foresters who can help you meet your forestry goals.

Cooperating Forester Program

The Cooperating Forester Program is designed to encourage landowners to work with qualified private foresters in managing their forests. Cooperating foresters can provide valuable information and advice critical for landowners to make long-range or large-scale land management decisions.

Consulting with one of the listed cooperating foresters (PDF) can help you to engage in good forestry practices, sustain your forest for generations to come, and avoid damage to your forest from poor planning.

Cooperating foresters have agreed to:

  • Promote science based silviculture and forest management to meet landowner objectives and goals.
  • Adhere to the NYS Timber Harvesting Guidelines and the Society of American Foresters' Code of Ethics.
  • Acquire continuing forestry education.
  • Report forestry accomplishments to DEC and participate in annual meetings with DEC.

The Benefits of Hiring a Forester

Professional foresters will help you make informed decisions about your land. A forester can recommend practices and assist you in managing your forest to promote income, aesthetics, wildlife value, and more. Management practices can impact forest land and associated resources for many years to come, the expertise of a forester will help you make choices that can sustain your forest for the long-term.

Selecting a Cooperating Forester for Assistance

A forest after thinning operations were performed

When selecting a cooperating forester, choose an individual you feel comfortable with. Determine your specific needs and the services required to meet them. Contact several foresters that work in your area, requesting references and a brief proposal outlining the service they can provide for you.

Inclusion in the Cooperating Forester Program does not imply endorsement. There are no legal standards governing foresters in New York State, so:

  • Make sure you have considered the experience level and any professional affiliations of the person you hire.
  • A contract or a letter of agreement can help protect you.
    • It should be signed by both parties and outline the services that are to be provided, when they will be provided, and for what cost.

Remember, there are different types of forester including consultant foresters and industrial foresters:

  • A consultant forester works in the private sector providing services on a fee or contingency basis, is not employed by a forest industry, and doesn't have direct economic interest in a timber purchasing entity.
  • An industrial forester may work for a wood-using manufacturer or may have an economic interest in a timber purchasing entity.

Cooperating Forester Cost Expectations

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.

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. The professional assistance a landowner receives will frequently pay for itself.

If you plan to conduct a timber sale, a forester can provide an appropriate sale contract and help you administer it. During the timber harvest, the forester can periodically inspect the logging, a critical step in assuring your timber sale goes smoothly.