Timber Theft's on the Rise in Alabama

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With timber prices rising, timber theft is only expected to increase. However, forestry officials say a few preventive measures could help you.

There are three scenarios for timber theft:

  • First: Two landowners live side by side. One landowner crosses the line and cuts down his neighbor’s trees, then sales it for a profit.
  • Two: A buyer pressures a timber owner to cut down their trees for a fee, but knowingly says those trees are worth less than they are, then resells them for more money.
  • Three: This is not common in our area, but this third scenario happens when thieves know a landowner isn't around and late at night they go onto their property and begin chopping away.

    With the price tag on one truckload of timber going for $1000 dollars, officials say it is a problem.

    "It's mainly situations where you have absentee landowners. You have people that only come to see it once a year and they may not have fire lanes and markers" says Willie Durr with the Houston County Cooperative Extension System.

    Forestry officials say timber theft could get worse because Alabama ranks second in the entire nation for timber production; 22.9 million acres of the product is harvested every year.

    "You should check it daily, check your lines and make sure that theft hasn't occurred. If you check it daily you can stop it immediately as it starts" says James Payne with Dale County’s Alabama Forestry Commission.

    However, if you can't check it daily, it's recommended you get someone who can.

    As far as selling your timber at a cheaper value, hiring a professional forestry consultant can help.