Sample Timber Sale Contract

Each timber sale is unique, so provisions of each contract may vary. Licensed foresters are experienced in writing sound timber sale contracts to meet specific client and property requirements. It may be advisable to obtain legal counsel when preparing a contract. Before proceeding with a timber sale, take time to become familiar with the process in order to make informed decisions. Seek the services of a qualified licensed forester to assist you.

This sample contract is provided for guidance only. It is no substitute for advice from your forester and/or lawyer. Please refer to the companion fact sheet, The Timber Sale Contract, for an overview of selling timber and for an explanation of the clauses in this sample contract.

This agreement is entered into on the ________day in the month of _______, 20___ 

between ____________,seller,     /seller’s address/   

and ___________, buyer,      /buyer’s address/    

Article I – The seller(s) agree(s) to sell to the buyer(s) and the buyer(s) agree(s) to buy from the seller(s) according to the terms and conditions stated in this agreement all the timber marked with paint marks or designated by the seller(s) or the seller’s authorized agent, estimated to be

    /in thousand board feet/    more or less, on a tract of land located _____________________ in the town of _________­­­____________________, County of ___________________, State of New Hampshire.

Article II – The seller stipulates that the seller is the sole owner of the tract of land named above and has the full right and power to dispose of the timber specified in this agreement

Article III – The seller agrees to permit the buyer to enter onto the land described above for the purpose of cutting and removing the timber which is the subject of this agreement.

    The buyer will post a bond, certified letter of credit, or place a deposit of $                with the seller or seller’s agent to be returned after the terms of this agreement are fully met. The seller reserves the right to retain a portion of this deposit to cover damages for breach of this agreement.

Article IV – The buyer agrees to pay the seller the sum of $__________ more or less, determined by the actual scale at: $__________ per thousand board feet.


Article IV – The buyer agrees to pay the seller at the rate of:

$_____MBF (thousand board feet) _____(wood type)

$_____MBF                           _____(wood type)

$_____MBF                           _____(wood type)


Article V – Payment shall be made in the following manner:

1. On a       /weekly      basis.

2. Scale slips for each         /week/         of the       operation shall be furnished by the buyer to the seller or seller’s agent on a /weekly/         basis.

Article VI – The entire agreement between the parties is contained within this document, notwithstanding any prior negotiations.

     Any revision to this agreement must be in writing and must be signed by both parties

Article VII – The buyer agrees to cut and remove the timber, subject of this agreement, in strict accordance with the following conditions:

1. Failure on the part of the buyer to comply with the conditions of this agreement shall be, at the option of the seller, deemed a breach of the agreement and subject to arbitration.

2. No timber shall be cut except that marked or designated by the seller or seller’s agent.

3.  Unless an extension of time is granted, all timber which is the subject of this agreement shall be cut and removed on or before___________________________________________________

4. Timber shall be scaled by the __________________________rule and measured at                                   /location/                   

5. All trees shall be utilized in their tops to the smallest possible diameter for commercially-saleable materials. All trees having 50 percent sound scale shall be cut and paid for.

   Stumps shall be cut so as to cause the least possible waste. –or–  Stumps shall be cut no higher than the top of the root swell, so as to leave the paint marks clearly visible. –or–  Maximum stump height will be 12 inches.

6. Young trees shall be protected against unnecessary injury. All unmerchantable trees that are leaning or bent as a result of tree felling shall be laid on the ground and cut off at the stump. Buyer will pay seller for undesignated trees cut or injured through carelessness at the rate of ______________ times the contract stumpage rate.

7. Buyer shall comply with all federal and state laws pertaining to the operation and be liable for any action resulting from this operation.

8. Buyer agrees to lop all tops and slash to within four feet of the ground.

9. The buyer agrees to be responsible for damage caused by logging to fences, roads, trails, bridges, ditches, culverts, stone walls, fields or other improvements damaged beyond ordinary wear and tear.

   The buyer shall leave access road, landing and skid trails in reasonable and operable condition. The buyer shall construct, install, or return to original condition, waterbars or other erosion control devices on the haul road, landing, and main skid trails. The landing shall be cleared of logging debris and other waste.

10. Buyer may not assign this agreement in whole or in part without the written consent of the seller.

11. The buyer shall obtain and maintain in force and shall require any subcontractor to obtain and maintain in force, the following insurance:

a. General Personal Injury, and Automobile Liability (including bodily injury, personal injury and property damage):

    1.) Combined single limit of $1,000,000 each occurrence.

    2.) Any aggregate will not be less than $2,000,000.

    3.) If any aggregate limits are reduced below $600,000 because of claims made or paid during the required policy period, the buyer shall obtain additional insurance to restore the full aggregate limit and furnish a certificate showing compliance with this provision.

b. Standard Worker’s Compensation and Employer Liability as required by State statute, RSA 281-A.

Before the start up of the job, the buyer will furnish a certificate of insurance listing the landowner as a certificate holder.

12. The buyer will indemnify and save harmless the seller and the seller’s agents from any and all claims and actions covering loss, costs and damages of every kind and description which may be brought or made against seller or seller’s agents on account of or in any manner arising out of the work being done under this agreement, sustained by any person, firm, or the buyer’s agents, employees, contractors or subcontractors.

 Article VIII – It is mutually understood and agreed by and between the parties of this agreement as follows:

1. All timber included in this agreement shall remain the property of the seller until paid for in full.

2. All rights granted under this agreement revert to the seller on the date of the termination of this agreement, whether such termination results from the full performance of this agreement, or is so declared by the seller on account of breach of contract on the part of the buyer.

3. In case of disputes over the terms of this agreement, final decision shall rest with a reputable person mutually agreed upon by parties concerned and, in case of further disagreement, with an arbitration board of three persons, one to be selected by each party to this contract and a third to be selected by the other two arbiters.

4. For the purposes of this agreement it is mutually understood that the authorized agent for the seller is: list the name, address, and phone number of your forester_______________

In witness whereof the parties have signed this agreement on the date stated above.

Witnessed:                                By Seller(s)

______________                  __________date__ __

______________                  __________date__ __

                                             By Buyer(s)

______________                  __________date_____

Possible additional clauses:

The seller shall not be liable for fire losses or accidents which may occur in connection with the work by the buyer or buyer’s employees.

Permission to haul logs and equipment across any land not belonging to the seller shall be obtained by the seller.

Buyer shall cease logging operations when ground conditions dictate that continued hauling will do considerable damage to the roads.

Seller guarantees that all boundaries are marked correctly and assumes the responsibility for any damage which is the result of incorrectly-marked boundaries

The seller will give the buyer the option to bid on the next cut of timber, with the right to purchase if the bid equals the high bid and is willing to meet the other stipulations of the contract.

All by-products, including fuel wood, shall remain the property of the seller.


Extension State Specialist, Forest Resources
Full State Specialist/Professor, Natural Resources
Phone: (603) 862-4861
Office: UNH Cooperative Extension, Taylor Hall, Durham, NH 03824