Suspected Timber Trespass and Theft

If you're a landowner who suspects timber trespass, please look at the information below to see what action you may need to take.

  1. VDOF is not authorized to investigate or prosecute suspected cases of timber trespass. We will provide any assistance we can.
    1. Local law enforcement agencies or Commonwealth’s Attorney must investigate and prosecute.
  2. Under the law, the landowner can be compensated for up to three times the value of the standing timber, reimbursement of their reforestation costs, and compensation for their costs in determining the timber value as well as their legal costs.
  3. If you want to prove that timber theft occurred and to seek compensation, here are some of the steps you may need to take:
    1. determine who cut the trees and notify them of the suspected trespass
    2. hire a consulting forester to determine the value of the lost timber
    3. hire a surveyor to locate the property line if it is in question (not required in all cases)
    4. contact local law enforcement or the Commonwealth’s Attorney.
  4. VDOF can provide you with contact information for the logger, if the logger was required to notify us.

If we have not received notification of the timber harvest, we are required to investigate.

  • to enforce the silvicultural water quality law
  • to enforce the requirement for notification.

After we inspect the site and identify the parties involved in the harvest, we should inform the landowner of record and adjoining owners where timber trespass is suspected.

If we discover a case of suspected timber trespass and we can identify the affected landowner we should contact the landowner and provide them with the same guidance.

VDOF staff should advise landowners when we think timber harvesting occurred on their property. The landowner is responsible for determining if their trees were harvested without their permission.

Timber theft that does not involve trespass is also an important problem; typically in these cases the landowner has agreed to sell their timber but they do not receive full payment. These are civil or contractual disputes and we are unable to assist these landowners other than to recommend that they contact local law enforcement or legal counsel.

Last modified: Thursday, 06-Nov-2014 10:25:10 EST