A forestry management program is very essential not only for sustainable forest yields but also for selling quality lumber. A timber cruiser is a forestry job that requires: making an assessment on tree species composition; determining tree size; and learning the density of the trees to be harvested to maximize the timber yield. As a landowner, the goal is to get an accurate estimation of the land value and to fulfill the ongoing mandates of a forest management plan. To accomplish this goal, the need for a timber cruiser or estimator is necessary.Fixed Area Plot Method - This refers to the sampling method of using either a predetermined area size or determining an area and them making it. All the trees in a given similar area are then measured inside the plot. This continues with all such designated plots or areas. Having gathered the data from all determined and marked plots, the cruiser then processes the results to get an estimate (points) of the entire forest.
When a pattern is already established, a cruiser usually collects data on foot and applies a sampling technique. There are two methods of sampling that are commonly used: fixed area plots and point sampling.
Point Sampling Method – This is similar to the method mentioned above by determining and making an overall estimate. The difference is that instead of using multiple points throughout the forest, the cruiser determines the points by measuring all the trees that they can see within a 360 degree point from which they are standing. Points are then determined for the entire estimate. There are also a variety of ways to select sampling points: random stops, through pattern or transit line.
As with any other forestry job, becoming a timber cruiser can be learned through mentoring and actual hands-on experience. There is training available for this position and many natural resources professionals. This training allows the participants to learn the skills needed to perform accurate and efficient cruising of standing timber as well as to assess stand level information. This education can include teaching participants to construct and implement timber cruises. The use of common tools such as compasses, measuring tapes, and prisms as well as the use of heavy equipment such as forestry bucket trucks, forestry grapples, and other vehicles may be included.
Equipment and Instruments
Heavy equipment such as bucket trucks help cruisers readily accomplish their tasks during the sampling process by providing the ability to reach above the trees. These trucks also greatly help when measuring tall trees and the buckets on the trucks are customized for the carrying of all necessary instruments.
Usually when doing a direct measurement, the cruiser physically measures the tree and uses two common measuring tools: calipers and a logger’s tape. Calipers are widely used and although considered an antique measuring tool, they are still used today because of their great degree of accurate measurement. Logger’s tapes are used primarily to measure the diameter of the tree, with diameter conversion on one side and the regular length measurement on the other. These tapes are durable to last through all the tough usage they experience.
Every cruiser wants to provide their clients with accurate and timely timber inventories. Landowners demand an accurate estimation value of standing timber in order to stay current on timber product specifications and prices. It is also important to the owner to evaluate young trees in order to accurately project future timber growth volume. This helps the landowner determine the most beneficial time for the trees to be harvested in the future.
That is the basic information about the job know as a cruiser. Hopefully, it will have helped anyone interested in pursuing this particular career path within the forestry industry!