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Northeast Timber Growing Contest

improving productivity & health of woodlands



May 15, 2017 by Dean Faklis

Measurement season is in high gear for the timber contesters and results are flowing in daily.  Please consider entering an additional category this year.  The Board Foot Volume Category only requires 20 trees and it’s a great way to help build a stronger relationship with your forester.  Pick a nice day and head to the woodlot!

While you’re there, consider marking your plots for some thinning.  Remember that proper thinning helps your best trees immensely and it removes the poor stock from your plots.  Slow growers are a big burden on overall score too!  Your measurements form a near perfect set of guidelines to help you make thinning decisions.  Have at it!

September 16, 2016 by Dean Faklis

A spreadsheet has been uploaded to the Resources & Publications page to help woodland owners think about topics in forest economics.  Please experiment with it using your actual data or simply play around with it to see the impact of different growth rates and tax scenarios.  Let us all know what you find!

July 13, 2016 by Dean Faklis

The Northeast Timber Growing Contest ( is a great activity that assists landowners in learning much more about their woodlands and timber investments. I measure and track the diameter-at-breast-height (DBH) of about 2,000 trees annually and it tells me a lot about how to make TSI decisions. Once you learn to use the proper tools, it’s very easy to acquire the skill of measuring tree diameter with great precision.

However, sometimes mistakes are made in measuring and one should be careful not to make big decisions using small amounts of data. The sage….”measure twice, cut once” is a good one. But when you’re good at measuring and 50 out of 100 trees shrink in DBH and measure smaller after one full growing season, what the heck is going on?

It’s been a very dry spring and summer here in Western NY with drought-like conditions. I looked up some research online and only found a couple links (most notably by a person named Kozlowski from Madison, WI). The papers say: “Among well-known indications of internal water deficits in trees are shrinkage of tissues and reduction in photosynthesis. Thus, the occurrence of decreasing values in successive forest inventories could be due to natural physiological and physical processes, and not exclusively related to human measurement errors.”

This physical mechanism of shrinkage appears to be “well-known”. So, timber contesters, don’t despair, your measurement technique is just fine!  Next year the trees will spring back when they get re-hydrated.

Check out and consider entering. Depending on category, it takes only 1 hour per YEAR to participate and you’ll learn a ton. It’s all about learning and using a modest level of friendly competition to make it interesting. There are now well over 30 teams across NY in the contest. Youngest contestant is 12 years old and the oldest is 80 years young!  If you’re from a state in the northeast US, please join in the fun as NY welcomes you!

April 6, 2016 by Dean Faklis

Spring is here and I’ll be at Dale Schaefer’s place in a few days to measure his trees. After that, Team Springwater heads into the woods to measure its plots.

I wanted to alert all contestants to an interesting forestry website:

Check it out… it’s loaded with good stuff and has an active blog and community.

Send me an email ( and let me and Pete know how you are making out with your 2016 measurements. Thanks!

January 28, 2016 by Dean Faklis

The results for 2015 are in!  Congratulations to All Participants…and a job well done! The results article will appear in the MAR/APR issue of NYFOA’s Forest Owner magazine, and it is available now on the Contest Results webpage.

Josh, Jeff and Ed Piestrak, along with their Forester Bruce Robinson, again won top honors with their excellent hardwood basal area entry. Nice Work!

I think that the biggest highlight of the year is that we gained several new contestants.  There are now 18 teams in 12 different NY counties. WOW!!!

Another high point is that we have 10 year old Oscar Williams heading up a team out of Tioga County. Oscar attended the Timber Contest Workshop in E. Guilford last March…..and he is ready for action! And young Amani Gullo played a key role in taking measurements at The Stackhouse Forest.  Congratulations Oscar and Amani!

Please remember…it only takes about 2-4 hours per year for a team to gather contest measurements. Please encourage your forest friends and neighbors to enter the contest!  Let’s really try to beef up our participation numbers in 2016.

June 1, 2015 by Dean Faklis

Several participants have asked to see an example of an actual contest submission. Team Springwater has made all of its entries public so check them out on the Contest Results page.

April 15, 2014 by Dean Faklis

Woodmizer’s website includes a potentially useful resource for timber contest participants: “Find a Custom Sawyer.” All states are represented. Check it out:

Access to a local sawyer can be a great way to extract value from your thinning operations.

Other portable bandsaw companies may also have options to locate sawyers.

March 19, 2014 by Dean Faklis
The Alabama Forest Owners Association ( interviewed Dr. Peter Smallidge last week as a result of their strong interest in the Northeast Timber Growing Contest. Here is a brief audio clip of the interview. Special thanks to AFOA’s Mr. and Mrs. Lee Laechelt!

February 27, 2014 by Dean Faklis
Be sure to check out the recent Forest Connect webinar entitled, “Are You Growing Your Best Timber?”  This webinar highlights the timber contest along with all the other great webinars at Forest Connect! Here is the abstract:
For some woodland owners timber management is a high priority of ownership, and most owners recognize there is some value in their timber. Ultimately, most woodlots are eventually harvested. Many activities by woodland owners influence timber volume and value. Timber is an asset to the owner, and can accumulate significant value if managed appropriately. This webinar will cover some of the core strategies to increase the volume and value of timber on private woodlands. Also, the webinar will discuss a new initiative called the Timber Growing Contest. The Timber Growing Contest is a friendly competition where woodland owners throughout the Northeast learn to measure the growth of their forest trees to learn more about timber volume and value. Foresters would often be involved in the contest with their clients to assist with the measurements and management. The Timber Growing Contest is part of the Restore New York Woodlands Initiative and is coordinated by the NY Forest Owners Association and Cornell’s ForestConnect program. The webinar is presented by Dr. Peter Smallidge, NYS Extension Forester and Director of Cornell’s Arnot Teaching and Research Forest.

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