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Black Walnut Veneer Tree Illegally Cut

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From: Brad Brooks
lawton, MI
Long story... My neighbor recently had logging done. before the start he had marked some trees that were on my property( I believe knowing that they were not his.). I happened to notice 3 months afterwards of the markings. was told I was going to be informed...{first... ya right... of the story}. but ok after the dispute was settled and a survey by neighbor showed the boundry and that some trees were on my property, I marked the boundry well and had written NO in big red letters on the mismarked trees.I informed his buyer to remove the said trees from my neighbor's sale and also informed the loggers not to cut them. Only one was a really valueable tree.Black walnut 28" dib with just over 44' run to first branch.

Hoping everything was settled but knowing in the back of my head that they still wanted that tree the day came when the logging operation next door started.Well even after all I did to prevent it they cut The black walnut down but none of the others. they Said oops only the skidder was told about the trees not to be cut and the sawer didnt see the big red no on the walnut till he had cut it down.I guess he did see the other nos on the trees all around it, just not the one valuable tree{second HUGE ya right}, and they are saying it was worth $2265.Now to start with that tree was irreplacable to me as a beautiful tree and no price would make me happy but I am living in the real world so my only recourse is probably monetary. I believe,(i have been told I am not an expert) the first log alone is prime clear 4 sides 14' 26-28"dib with small end 22". there is a small canker spot there then another 10' run till a unsprouted bud node. small end now 18" then the rest seems to be good saw grade at least.There are a few small canker spots and that one unsprouted bud node but for the most part it is a beautiful 44' veneer log. I have gotten a lawyer and was told I need to get a true value for this tree. But no forester or timber buyer I have talked to will tell me what the delivered price would be...just what they would pay me for the tree in the woods.I understand they need to make a living and if I was to sell just one log I would not get a high price and I would understand them getting a big mark up at the mill for the cutting and hauling but in this case I need to know the real value of this log for damages. I have had one buyer out and he qoeted just 200 less than the cutters without knowing what they were offering so they all seem to know what it is worth. But he said no way would he give me what the delivered price would be.Said he doesnt make any profit on the log itself but in the milling...{third ya right}. And one even had the gall to say 700 for the whole thing hoping I didnt know better!(this was a suposedly independant forestry consultant) seems all of the "experts" around here are in the pockets of the mills or seeing how much $$$ they can make from a lay peson. Really tired of this "good ole boy club" that seems to be the norm instead of exception.I didnt ever want to cut the tree in the first place but now that it is cut I dont want to get shafted a second time. any help on how to proceed would be great. thank you

Extension Message
From: Jay Hayek
Extension Specialist, Forestry
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences

In Illinois, we have a law that assesses triple stump damages regarding illegally cut trees. Based on several direct and indirect field measurements, including geometric stump diameter and distance to the top (if it hasn’t been moved by the skidder operator), a forester can generally, and accurately, determine the approximate volume of the cut tree. Now all you have to do is determine a value.

In Illinois, the prevailing delivered veneer black walnut price range is $3.00-10.00/bd ft, with sawlog prices fetching $1.00-1.80/bd ft. When I used to investigate timber theft cases, I would take a low, high, and average estimate based on the prevailing market conditions for the area.

Therefore, if the average value were appraised at $1000, then the triple stump damage assessment would award the landowner $3000. One problem, your property is in Michigan and I am not familiar with Michigan Conservation Law. With that said, you should probably contact a local Michigan State University Extension Forester,

If you are having trouble getting what you think is a fair assessment, then I urge you to contact your local DNR forester or your local Extension Forester.

Good luck!

From: Tree guy Buyer
Grand Rapids , MI
Timber trespass is 3-4 times the value of the tree. You need a registered forester to give a value and sue them for damages for cutting trees without permission and trespass, for example $2,300 tree would and they should pay you 4 times the value so $2,300x4=$9,200 I'd see if they are from plainwell or shelbyville/ orangeville area, crooks in that area but they have no assests in their name and deal in cash, can't get anything out of them in court unless it is a sawmill which they have Insureance that covers it. Need to find out if it's a middle man or a sawmill and if sawmill tell them 4 times value Also the cost to cut and truck it would be approx $30 to $50 total it goes on board feet and miles to mill good luck

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