Timber can be worth a pretty penny, and timber growth is a long-term investment. So timber theft is a concern for your investment and your time. Properly protecting your timber from poachers and from illicit contractors is vital.
At the Jones Law Firm in Alexandria, Louisiana, we know the ins and outs of timber theft law. We want to help you understand what to do if loggers cut trees on your property. In this blog, we will cover the laws in place to help you navigate this situation.
Avoiding Timber Theft Accidents in Louisiana
“Good faith” timber theft refers to trees that are cut down due to a misunderstanding or accident. It means that the perpetrators didn’t intend to steal, but rather that they made a mistake in good faith. For example, this can occur if loggers have been hired to log and they accidentally cut down a neighbor’s timber or timber not within the contract.
There are many cases in which timber theft occurs in good faith, but there are ways to try to prevent this from happening. For example:
- Make sure boundaries are clearly labeled and identified. This way, loggers can’t claim not to know it wasn’t the property they agreed to cut.
- Create a clear contract. Do your best to ensure that there can’t be any loopholes and that everything is clear and detailed.
- Notify adjacent landowners of the area being cut prior to timber operations.
- Check in frequently and randomly when logging operations are underway. Your presence, or even the possibility of your presence, will alleviate much concern.
Things to Consider When Hiring Loggers
As we mentioned above, timber can be worth a lot of money; therefore, when theft occurs, it’s a big problem. That’s why it’s essential to take the time to fully vet and employ the best logger.
It is important to have a clear plan. Here are some ideas to keep in mind when looking to hire loggers:
- The size of your land likely dictates the size of your logger’s company. A single logger can properly harvest dozens of acres. Hundreds of acres likely need a larger company organization.
- Investigate several companies. There are options.
- Trust references. Seek the opinions of nearby landowners who have harvested timber. Even check online reviews.
- Check for bankruptcy or if the company has been incorporated in another state.
- Don’t be afraid to contact state or federal forestry agents. They generally know all of the major players.
- Ask for proof of insurance and licensing. The state does not require loggers to have insurance, but it should be required by you.
- Request a down payment.
- Choose the proper time of year, usually when the ground is hard.
Hire A Louisiana Timber Theft Lawyer
Having a lawyer who can look over your logging contract and help you in case you missed anything is another step in helping you avoid timber theft. At Jones Law Firm, we are experienced in timber laws in Louisiana and will be happy to help you along your journey.
We want to ensure that you have an excellent logging experience, and in the event that theft occurs, we want to be there to help you seek recovery of lost value. Call us at (318) 442-1515 to get started.