Timber Harvesting and Marketing
Fountains Forestry provides clients with a comprehensive timber harvesting and marketing service, with access to a wide range of timber production markets. We are independent from timber processing interests which means we can act in your best interest to secure the optimum price for your timber. Our timber harvesting services include:
- Operational planning
- Tendering of timber
- Supervision of harvesting operations
- Roadside sales of hardwood timber
- Management of firewood production
Fountains Forestry manages woodlands to the UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS), the approved certification standard in the UK recognised by the Forestry Stewardship Council®, this enables our clients to offer certified timber for sale which is very important in global timber markets and helps us achieve the maximum price for timber.
Mensuration– The measurement of crops in advance of felling is helpful to both the forest owner and the purchaser, to ensure that each has reasonable confidence in advance of the operation in the quantity of timber to be harvested. Normally this is done by putting sample plots into the crop at regular intervals in line with Forestry Commission guidance. Measurement is made of tree girth and heights of the tallest trees and the data collected provides a good indication of volume per hectare which can be converted into tonnage.
Operational Planning – In addition to crop measurement, the forest manager will inspect the forest to check whether protected species are present as part of an environmental assessment. The roads and tracks to be used for harvesting are also assessed to ensure their condition is fit for purpose. Safety issues will be checked such as presence of overhead lines and underground services such as gas pipes. All relevant factors will be recorded and put onto a Constraints Map which will be given to the purchaser and will form part of the contract. The manager will carry out a pre-job checking procedure which will ensure that a felling licence (ref Forestry Commission Guide to Felling Licences, 2007) is in place and that the operation is in line with the approved Certification Plan.
Certification – Fountains Forestry manages woodlands to the UK Woodland Assurance Standard (UKWAS), the approved certification standard in the UK recognised by the Forestry Stewardship Council®. This enables our clients to offer certified timber for sale which is very important in global timber markets and helps us achieve the maximum price for timber.
Tendering of Timber – Fountains Forestry is fully independent of any timber using group and normally sells clients’ timber on competitive tender basis, to a range of potential purchasers. All potential purchasers with a good track record of safety and environmental compliance will be invited to submit a price by a closing date. They are supplied with full details of the parcel of timber for sale including area and approximate tonnage. They will have a constraints map identifying site hazards and other features to ensure these are allowed for in their calculations. The timber will nearly always be sold to the highest bidder. Occasionally a negotiated sale will be recommended where a purchaser offers an attractive price by virtue of an obvious competitive advantage.
Supervision of Harvesting – During harvesting, our Forestry Manager monitors timber movements and stock levels and has a significant role in safety and environmental protection. Regular liaison is required with the timber purchaser’s Forest Works Manager (FWM) to ensure that the purchaser is happy with the infrastructure provided by the forest owner and check that only fully certificated operatives identified in the schedule provided by the purchaser are operating on-site.
Capital Works in Forests
Roads – Fountains Forestry’s forest management services include the required range of capital works, which are an important feature of forest development. Access is always a key aspect of a successful commercial forest as it impacts significantly on harvesting costs within that forest. Our forest managers are experienced at putting in new forest roads and upgrading existing roads which may originally have been built to service establishment works. We have a range of experienced contractors who have the appropriate plant and expertise for carrying out these works.
Bridges - From time to time additional challenges arise such as the need for bridge construction or gabions and, where these require input from civil engineers, these skills are hired in by our managers.
Restocking – It is normal on many upland sites to carry out ground preparation works using excavators or specialist scarifiers prior to planting; again we have contractors with the plant and the necessary expertise.
New Woodland Creation - When creating new forests there is often significant requirement for capital works in respect of ground preparation through ploughing and creating new drainage systems using excavators.
Tree Safety Management and Inspection
Owners have a legal duty of care to maintain their trees in a safe condition as far as practicable. Fountains Forestry advise on inspection regimes and carry out tree safety inspections for estates, local authorities, housing associations and landowners.
Our tree inspectors are fully qualified and meet recognised industry standards, including those set by both the Arboricultural Association and Royal Forestry Society. Surveys are carried out using hand-held GPS mappers with the reports available either electronically or in hard copy.
Growing Timber Insurance
Fountains Forestry provides public liability insurance for growing timber to hundreds of forests which we manage across the UK. Following discussion with the forest owner regarding types of cover available, we can provide quotations for:
- Fire cover
- Fire and storm cover
- Public liability insurance
The insurance is brokered by Clark Thomson Brokers and underwritten by Royal and Sun Alliance and Swiss Re.
Forest Accounting and VAT Administration
Fountains Forestry, where requested, administers both the forest accounts and associated VAT Returns, and transactions with HMRC, on behalf of its clients. Forest and woodland owners should always seek advice from their own financial advisor with respect to eligibility and the implications of VAT registration in their own personal circumstances.