Forestland is an asset that must be protected. One easy way to do this is by maintaining a forest’s property lines. Landowners may think about forest property lines when a survey is needed to buy or sell the land. However, like all forest management activities, landowners should think about managing and maintaining forest property lines long term. If property lines are not maintained, the land is more likely to be subject to trespass, timber loss, and land loss through adverse possession.
The winter months are a great time to do some forest property line maintenance. The following is a checklist of things landowners can do now to ensure their forest’s property lines are well maintained:
- Check fences and replace any damaged or lost posts or wire.
- Check corner posts and markings to make sure they are intact.
- Trees along a forest property line may be marked with plastic flagging tape or painted. Markings are usually about eye level and should be on trees either directly on the line or just inside the property line. Do not paint neighboring landowners’ trees without permission. Markings can be done in any way people see fit, but they need to be consistent.
- Contact the neighbors if there is are concerns about line locations. Concerns and problems should be resolved prior to erecting fences or painting property lines.
- Use a survey or deed description to reconstruct unmarked lines if corners and some markings are present. If there is any question about line locations have them reestablished by a professional surveyor.
- Property lines should be checked every two to three years at a minimum. They should also be checked after wind and storm events and before and after land sales, timber harvests, and other forest management activities.