Primary Timber Products Harvested When Selling Trees

Forest Products You May Have At Timber Sale Time

Fall Frame Shot of Logs
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The value of the timber you ultimately sell at harvest time is linked to the value of the products these trees can make. Normally, as the size of individual trees in a timber stand increase in height and diameter, the more valuable that stand becomes as more "product classes" become available. Trees growing into a more valuable class is what foresters call "ingrowth" and is continually happening over the life of a managed forest.

When a strand is properly managed, the best tree species with the highest potential quality are left to grow into high value pine and hardwood sawtimber and veneer and pine poles upon final harvest. Thinnings in these stands can start as early as 15 years to select and remove lower quality trees with lower but substantial values. These lower-valued products come in the form of pulpwood, superpulp, and chip-n-saw and typically comprise the early thinnings.

Product classes are generally defined by their size in the form of their diameter. Foresters express the diameter measurement in terms of diameter measured at breast height (DBH). Here are the major product classes defined on a typical timber sale contract:


Considered the least valuable product at the time of a tree sale, pulpwood is of primary importance when thinning a stand. It has value, and when harvested properly, makes some income even while leaving trees of potential higher value. Pulpwood is typically a small tree measuring  6-9” diameter breast height (DBH). Pulpwood trees are chipped into small chunks, chemically treated, and made into paper. Pulpwood is measured by weight in tons or by volume in standard cords.


This is a term locally used to describe pulpwood-sized pine trees from which one 2" x 4" board can be cut in addition to the chips used for pulpwood (not to be confused with chip-n-saw). Another name for canterwood is “superpulp”. Superpulp is more valuable than regular pulpwood, but markets for this product are not always available. Canterwood is measured by weight in tons or by volume in standard cords.


Wood for pallets can be a market for low-quality standing hardwood timber that does not make the grade for lumber. These stands have been mismanaged for optimum hardwood sawtimber production and have no potential to make grade lumber. This market is generally available in regions with a large upland hardwood resource. These trees will be sawed into slats for pallet-making. Palletwood is sometimes called “skrag.”


This product is different from canterwood in that it is cut from trees transitioning from pulpwood into sawtimber size. These tree typically range in the 10-13” DBH size. By using a combination of chipping and sawing techniques, these mid-sized trees produce chips for pulpwood as well as small dimension lumber. Chip-n-saw is heavily dependent on tree quality and height which can saw out straight studs. This product is usually measured in tons or standard cords.

Pine and Hardwood Sawtimber:

Trees cut for lumber fall into two categories, hardwood lumber and lumber from conifers. Lumber from hardwoods and pines typically is sawn from trees with diameters greater than 14” DBH. Trees are cut into lumber but some of the extra material is converted into chips for fuel or paper production. Sawtimber is measured in tons or board feet. The value of these trees is heavily dependent on tree quality meaning straight, solid logs with little to no defect.


These trees are cut for peeled or sliced wood veneers and plywood. Trees in the product class have a diameter size of 16” or more. By means of a large lathe, the tree is converted into continuous sheets of thin wood. This is used in the manufacture of plywood and furniture, depending on the type of tree. Veneer and plywood is measured in tons or board feet. Value is heavily dependent on tree quality.


South Carolina Forestry Commission. Understanding Timber as a Commodity. .