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Scammers try to buy trees for thousands less than they're worth

Officials said you should be skeptical of anyone who reaches out to buy your trees and always find out what your trees are actually worth before selling them. (WRSP)

The trees on your property may be worth some money, but the Department of Natural Resources is warning forest landowners to be careful.

Scammers will offer to buy your trees for thousands of dollars less than what they're worth, officials said.

If you are thinking about selling your trees, the DNR advises forest landowners to contact them or a professional forester to find out what they're worth.

"Black walnut, white oak, red oak, and then ash and hickory and cherry are pretty good in the market right now," said DNR Forester Paul Deizman. "Oak and walnut drive the market a lot of the time in Illinois and right now those prices are very high."

Officials said you should be skeptical of anyone who reaches out to buy your trees and always find out what your trees are actually worth before selling them.


For a directory of IDNR District Foresters, check the IDNR website at this link: https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/conservation/Forestry/Documents/DistrictForestersOfficesAndMap.pdf

For a directory of Illinois professional consulting foresters, check the IDNR website at this link: https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/conservation/Forestry/Documents/2016consultingforesters.pdf

Enforcement of timber laws by IDNR Forest Resources personnel and Illinois Conservation Police remains a priority for the Department. IDNR reminds forest landowners that all timber buyers must be licensed in Illinois. The IDNR website lists licensed timber buyers at this link: http://dnr.illinois.gov/timberbuyers/

Some reminders for Illinois forest landowners:

If landowners want to sell timber, they should contact an IDNR District Forester or a professional consulting forester to advise them. Consulting foresters are available to appraise the marketability of, or the market value of, timber holdings. Consulting foresters can also represent the landowner as an agent, or can administer a timber sale for a reasonable fee. Forest landowners should always:

* Familiarize yourself with your forest and timber;

* Consider all unsolicited offers for their timber to be suspect;

* Appraise your timber’s worth or compare any offer or deal with others like it;

* Use a written contract that spells out all financial and other details and timing of the harvest of trees;

* Receive payment upfront before any cutting operations begin;

* Discuss and document vehicle and equipment access, operation areas and cleanup in the contract.

Good forestry information and tools for landowners are also available for free from the IDNR Division of Forest Resources, the Southern Illinois University Forestry Department, the University of Illinois Forestry Extension, the Illinois Forestry Association, the Society of American Foresters, and Illinois Professional Consulting Foresters.

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