The US Forest Service developed tree Value Conversion Standards in 1976 for 12 major hardwoods. That is the basis of the tree value estimator. These standards measure a tree’s worth in dollars based on the quantity and quality of the expected yield in 4/4 lumber.

It can be used to estimate value increase, value summaries in timber inventories, and to evaluate different forest management alternatives.

Since the value pertains only to 4/4 lumber, veneer values have not been taken into account. Also, different cutting practices will cause a difference in both quality and quantity yields. It can be used as a basis for stumpage value, but other factors must be taken into consideration. Quality yields may vary from area to area.

After selecting species, input 1 Common lumber price. It is the value per 1,000 board feet ($/Mbf). Red oak prices are used for black oak, and white oak prices are used for chestnut oak. Most sawmills have this price, and it may also be available from your extension agent, or state forestry bureau.

Conversion costs are the associated costs to convert standing timber to sawn lumber. This would include the cost of logging, hauling and milling. You can also add risk and profit into the number. It will vary from mill to mill, based on mill efficiencies. It will also vary by tree diameter. Larger trees are cheaper to log and mill than small diameter trees. Unusually large trees will be more expensive due to mill limitations. Input value is $/Mbf.

Tree grade is computed on the butt log. You must be able to get a specified grade in 12’ of the first 16’ of a tree to make the grade. Grade is based on the 3 best faces of the log. Grades are as follows:

Grade #1 Grade #2 Grade #3

Min. Dbh 16 14 10

Min clear 7 (16-18" dbh)

Length in 5 (18-20") 3 2

Clear cutting 3 (20"+)

% in clear 5/6 2/3 1/2

cuttings

Height and dbh are inputs about the scaled tree. Form class refers to the amout of taper.

The first numbers are for tree volumes. The stumpage value is how much a particular tree is worth, after converting from standing timber to lumber, at a particular tree scale. The tree value is how much the tree is worth.

To find estimated lumber value, use 0 as a conversion cost.

For loggers, it gives a quick estimate on timber values. Veneer is not taken into consideration. Conversion costs should reflect profit and risk. It is only a quick estimate and should not be used to solely base a timber bid.

To landowners, this can give a quick system for checking how much a particular tree is worth. It can be useful in determining whether a tree should be harvested or if it should be allowed to grow.

Tree growth cannot be captured until it moves into the next higher diameter class. This can be gotten from increment borings. You need to know how many years it takes to grow 1" in the radius, which nets a 2" diameter growth.

Comparing the two tree values, you will get your projected income. From that, rates of return can be calculated.