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Investing In Woodland


Methinkshe
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One of my sons has approx £100k and is thinking of investing in woodland.

I don't know much about the subject - i.e. what one is allowed to fell/cut/coppice and how much acreage a single person with standard living expenses (rent, rates, fuel bills etc) would need to make a living from selling firewood, bearing in mind that the trees must have time to regrow, so I assume would have to be harvested/coppoced in rotation.

He says that he is presently buying logs for £2.50 a bag approx half the size of a 55lb potato sack.

Is it a bad idea or does it have potential?

Grateful for any info.

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Guest DissipatedYouthIsValuable

"Mum, bags of wood from the garage are so expensive, I think I'll spend £100k on some trees."

"That's nice dear. Trees are lovely."

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One of my sons has approx £100k and is thinking of investing in woodland.

I don't know much about the subject - i.e. what one is allowed to fell/cut/coppice and how much acreage a single person with standard living expenses (rent, rates, fuel bills etc) would need to make a living from selling firewood, bearing in mind that the trees must have time to regrow, so I assume would have to be harvested/coppoced in rotation.

He says that he is presently buying logs for £2.50 a bag approx half the size of a 55lb potato sack.

Is it a bad idea or does it have potential?

Grateful for any info.

awesome.

i thought of that, but woodland with a little shack. paradise

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contact DEFRA and/or the environment agency for ins and outs; environmental legislation could really bite you on the bum, with severe fines for contravention

sounds a strange thing to do, unless the investor is already a tree surgeon or arboriculture expert

surely easier to just buy shares in a foresstry or logging company??

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http://www.teagasc.ie/forestry/technical_i...ree_felling.asp

Legal Requirements for Tree Felling

Under Section 37 of the Forestry Act, 1946, it is illegal to uproot any tree over ten years old or to cut down any tree of any age, unless notice of the intention to do so has been given in accordance with the Act.

Notice of intention to fell or uproot trees must be given in writing on a form known as a Felling Notice which may be obtained from any Garda Station or directly from the Felling Section of the Forest Service. On receipt of a completed Felling Notice, an Order prohibiting the felling of the trees is issued. This protects the trees in question while consideration is given to the issuing of a felling licence.

The prohibition on the uprooting or cutting down of trees does not apply where:

it is a hazel, apple, plum, damson, pear or cherry tree grown for the value of its fruit or any osier (any one of several willow species especially where grown for their rods for basket-weaving, etc.);

the activity is covered by a felling licence;

it is less than 100 feet from a dwelling other than a wall or temporary structure;

it is standing in a County or other Borough or an urban district.(within the boundaries of a town, borough or city council area)

Other exceptions apply in the case of local authority road construction, road safety and electricity supply operations.

Penalties for illegal felling can be severe, ranging from fines of up to a maximum of €63.49 per tree to imprisonment for up to 2 years. In addition to any fine which may be imposed by the Court, the Minister may, by Order, require the person convicted to replant.

Forest Service, April 2007

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the activity is covered by a felling licence;

For a business, just get the license and get on with it. Simple enough.

I'd be interested to hear how this venture goes. I like the idea of investing in some woodland. It could have a number of benefits apart from being a "safe bet" (as if such a thing existed).

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50% Deposit - Not sure that advice about woodland restrictions in Ireland (Eire) is very relevant, as although the OP did not specify where the wood would be, he's probably in the UK!

If in the UK then I suggest looking at sections of the http://www.woodlands.co.uk/ website.

e.g. for comments on one of the blogs...

"Mike Bispham

15 January, 2009

I own just a couple of acres of overgrown hornbeam coppice in Kent. There is much fallen timber, and many self-sown trees, mainly ash and wild cherry. I’d estimate the last coppicing was done some 20 to 30 years ago. One of the reasons I bought the wood was for fuel purposes, and I am trying to decide whether to coppice - in very small areas - or to thin progressively, in order to meet this aim once the the fallen timber has been used. I do think the use of woodland for fuel purposes is a valuable and increasing necessary thing - it wouldn’t surprise me to see a sustained growth in coppice-supplied logs. But I like to think about more than just fuel needs, and to act in ways that are supportive of rich habitat, and ware planning to experiment with purposeful growing of material for woodland crafts. So it seems to me that a hard distinction between coppicing and not coppicing might be unduly rigid; and it should be possible to adopt a mixture of management techniques even within a very small wood."

There are some useful sites out there.

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One of my sons has approx £100k and is thinking of investing in woodland.

I don't know much about the subject - i.e. what one is allowed to fell/cut/coppice and how much acreage a single person with standard living expenses (rent, rates, fuel bills etc) would need to make a living from selling firewood, bearing in mind that the trees must have time to regrow, so I assume would have to be harvested/coppoced in rotation.

He says that he is presently buying logs for £2.50 a bag approx half the size of a 55lb potato sack.

Is it a bad idea or does it have potential?

Grateful for any info.

I would also add the following to the evaulation of this opportunity .... how easy would it be for him to sell it again if he needed the money out quickly?

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If in the UK then I suggest looking at sections of the http://www.woodlands.co.uk/ website.

The woodlands.co.uk site is run by someone who buys parcels of woodland then subdivides and sells on for a large mark up. There is a group called something like the Small Woodlands Trust which provides help and advice, and has an introduction pack that they will send you. If you google and phone up the Rocks East woodland in Colerne, near Bath, the owners there are very helpful and can steer you towards all of the advice your son will need

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One of my sons has approx £100k and is thinking of investing in woodland.

I don't know much about the subject - i.e. what one is allowed to fell/cut/coppice and how much acreage a single person with standard living expenses (rent, rates, fuel bills etc) would need to make a living from selling firewood, bearing in mind that the trees must have time to regrow, so I assume would have to be harvested/coppoced in rotation.

He says that he is presently buying logs for £2.50 a bag approx half the size of a 55lb potato sack.

Is it a bad idea or does it have potential?

Grateful for any info.

Why not buy firewood in bulk?

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The woodlands.co.uk site is run by someone who buys parcels of woodland then subdivides and sells on for a large mark up. There is a group called something like the Small Woodlands Trust which provides help and advice, and has an introduction pack that they will send you. If you google and phone up the Rocks East woodland in Colerne, near Bath, the owners there are very helpful and can steer you towards all of the advice your son will need

I just want to point out that I don't endorse this website, and it is the equivalent of an "estate agents" website. But there are some useful links on it, and discussions.

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OK, some experience here..... <_< (I've got 100 acres of commercial forest....)

1) Unless they are subject of some preservation order, trees can be cut down. If you are talking about clear felling a large amount of land, then you may well need a licence, depending on the area. If you simply want to pull out a few trees for firewood, then as long as they are yours, go right ahead.

2) Felling trees is rather dangerous. A combination of a big sharp cutty thing and a big heavy thing above your head make for much entertainment if it all goes wrong. Chainsaw injuries are horrific - if he is going into this game, get trained and get the proper equipment. To get an idea of what can go wrong, have a look at this thread: http://www.arboristsite.com/showthread.php?t=55303 - and the warning that the pictures are not for the "weak at heart" is very true.

3) While trees look small when they are standing, once they are down, they are huge, and you are faced with a few tonnes of material that has to be cut up, split, stacked and delivered to the customer. It is either back breaking manual labour....or you need to go out and buy some very specialised and expensive kit.

4) Yes you'll need enough land for re-growth - guess on about 30 years for fast growing pine, 5 - 10 years for coppice (not really firewood). If he is planning on getting into hardwood such as oak, then he is investing for his great grandchildren.

5) Beware the conditions that come with forest land - shooting rights, fencing obligations, timber insurance - all can add up.

6) Also remember that cheap land is not usually where firewood sells for good money - I've got about 4 tonnes of wood in a dry stack at my place, and if this was shipped to a petrol station forecourt, it would be worth something stupid like 5 grand. Of course that doesn't factor in chopping it up into matchsticks and transporting it......

So should he do it? If he is going to enjoy it as a hobby - absolutely. It is great fun. I wouldn't do it for a living unless I was doing it at huge scale (>1m investment) and could afford the machinery required.

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Why not buy firewood in bulk?

He wants to do something that will earn a minimal income - he is trained as a carpenter but an accident left him with a damaged right arm. He can work at his own pace but not to suit an employer - he has to take pain relief to allow use of arm. It is an elbow injury - quite rare, by all accounts - that is degenerative and the more he uses his arm the quicker it will "wear out" the joint, necessitating surgery (probably repeat surgery) somewhere down the line.

He just had this idea that he could manage woodland, sell excess firewood and even, maybe, make willow products or somesuch.

Btw, thanks to all for the replies. I'll do some digging using the links given.

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I can answer some of the questions in the OP.

Without a felling licence you can fell up to a maximum of five cubic metres in any calendar Quarter. Note that you could fell 10 cubic metres in just two days if those days were, for example, the last day of March and the first of April.

There are some additional exceptions. For example, you can fell any number of trees in a "garden" and you can fell any diseased trees which you can prove were a hazard to human safety or a major threat to property.

Obtaining a felling licence is no big deal. You will have to guarantee your replanting scheme and have it approved prior to award of the licence, but it's not difficult or expensive.

Coppicing for firewood is not a commercial practicality. The revenue from coppicing comes from finished products which have substantial added value, such as making birch besoms, tent pegs, and hazel hurdles and alder charcoal for barbeques or peeling oak bark for the tanning industry.

Straightforward commercial forestry in the form of producing soft roundwood from species such as Sitka Spruce is hopelessly uneconomic on such a tiny scale as a £100k investment. You will never be able to compete with the Baltic countries who fell and process hundreds of square miles commercially every year.

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I can answer some of the questions in the OP.

Without a felling licence you can fell up to a maximum of five cubic metres in any calendar Quarter. Note that you could fell 10 cubic metres in just two days if those days were, for example, the last day of March and the first of April.

There are some additional exceptions. For example, you can fell any number of trees in a "garden" and you can fell any diseased trees which you can prove were a hazard to human safety or a major threat to property.

Obtaining a felling licence is no big deal. You will have to guarantee your replanting scheme and have it approved prior to award of the licence, but it's not difficult or expensive.

Coppicing for firewood is not a commercial practicality. The revenue from coppicing comes from finished products which have substantial added value, such as making birch besoms, tent pegs, and hazel hurdles and alder charcoal for barbeques or peeling oak bark for the tanning industry.

Straightforward commercial forestry in the form of producing soft roundwood from species such as Sitka Spruce is hopelessly uneconomic on such a tiny scale as a £100k investment. You will never be able to compete with the Baltic countries who fell and process hundreds of square miles commercially every year.

That's useful info - thanks. He has the carpentry skills to make stuff from coppicing. But whether or not he could earn an income - even a minimal one - is another matter.

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OK, some experience here..... <_< (I've got 100 acres of commercial forest....)

1) Unless they are subject of some preservation order, trees can be cut down. If you are talking about clear felling a large amount of land, then you may well need a licence, depending on the area. If you simply want to pull out a few trees for firewood, then as long as they are yours, go right ahead.

2) Felling trees is rather dangerous. A combination of a big sharp cutty thing and a big heavy thing above your head make for much entertainment if it all goes wrong. Chainsaw injuries are horrific - if he is going into this game, get trained and get the proper equipment. To get an idea of what can go wrong, have a look at this thread: http://www.arboristsite.com/showthread.php?t=55303 - and the warning that the pictures are not for the "weak at heart" is very true.

3) While trees look small when they are standing, once they are down, they are huge, and you are faced with a few tonnes of material that has to be cut up, split, stacked and delivered to the customer. It is either back breaking manual labour....or you need to go out and buy some very specialised and expensive kit.

4) Yes you'll need enough land for re-growth - guess on about 30 years for fast growing pine, 5 - 10 years for coppice (not really firewood). If he is planning on getting into hardwood such as oak, then he is investing for his great grandchildren.

5) Beware the conditions that come with forest land - shooting rights, fencing obligations, timber insurance - all can add up.

6) Also remember that cheap land is not usually where firewood sells for good money - I've got about 4 tonnes of wood in a dry stack at my place, and if this was shipped to a petrol station forecourt, it would be worth something stupid like 5 grand. Of course that doesn't factor in chopping it up into matchsticks and transporting it......

So should he do it? If he is going to enjoy it as a hobby - absolutely. It is great fun. I wouldn't do it for a living unless I was doing it at huge scale (>1m investment) and could afford the machinery required.

Many thanks - HPC is such a great source of info. It would have taken me days to get the sort of firsthand experience and advice I've got in just an hour from HPC.

Many thansk one and all.

Looks like he may need to think again.

Anyone know anything about growing high value crops in polytunnels? He's quite into agriculture - used to spend his childhood helping a local farmer doing anything from hedge-laying to delivering lambs. Hasn't done much horticulture, though, but he could learn.

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Many thanks - HPC is such a great source of info. It would have taken me days to get the sort of firsthand experience and advice I've got in just an hour from HPC.

Many thansk one and all.

Looks like he may need to think again.

Anyone know anything about growing high value crops in polytunnels? He's quite into agriculture - used to spend his childhood helping a local farmer doing anything from hedge-laying to delivering lambs. Hasn't done much horticulture, though, but he could learn.

why does your son swim on his back?

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