Timber Cruising and Valuation
A timber cruise is the estimated inventory of a stand (or multiple stands) of timber. Each stand will have a pre-determined number of sample plots. In each plot, the DBH (diameter at breast height) and height of each tree is measured and recorded. Variations from typical product classes may also be identified and recorded, along with any notes about the stand such as disease, insects, overall stocking, and many others. Height may be measured by total height or by a merchantable height, depending on the situation.
The results of a cruise are reported by stand on a per-acre and per-stand basis. Generally, the following are reported for each stand: acres, species, product class (sawtimber, pulpwood, chip-n-saw), tree count, basal area (gives an idea of stand occupancy), and volume (tons and/or board feet).
Once a cruise report has been created, the value of each stand may be estimated. Values for each product class may be estimated based on industry reports or recent, neighboring sales, whichever is more appropriate for the landowner and their objectives. Future values may also be estimated if a stand is to be harvested later.