From Pine View Farm

Tree Luggers 3

Anything that’s not nailed down . . .

The trees around George and Agnes Spaulding’s 170-year-old farmhouse are as good as money in the bank, many old-growth maples valuable not only for the quality of their wood but also for the sweet sap boiled into syrup each spring.

Having been born on the farm, George Spaulding, 78, loves the trees the way only someone who grew up with them could. And he counts on syrup sales to supplement the family income, which comes mainly from the twice-a-day milking of three dozen cows.

So when a neighboring farmer crossed onto the Spauldings’ land and chopped down 30 or so of their best trees, the couple was devastated.


Across the country, trees are disappearing in cases that are often small in scale but largely unsettling, probably prompted by the rise in timber value and the increase in worldwide demand for American hardwood — particularly from builders in Europe and China.

The total value of the American log export market has more than doubled since 2000, industry experts said, and it continues to grow.

In the United States, forests are not being illegally logged on a systemic scale, as is the case in Indonesia, Malawi and Brazil, where unauthorized harvesting has led to serious deforestation and attendant environmental problems. Here, the issue is scattered and intimate, and often affects homeowners, parks and public forests.

(Not to make light of this, but, actually, I have a tree in my yard they can have for free.)



  1. Opie

    February 10, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    In the past two years, the Springfield area has endured three tornadoes and two major ice storms. It’s getting to be the running joke around here that only the good trees get taken out by these kinds of events, and the old dead ones that will cost you $500 each to take down commercially seem to weather the crisis just fine.

  2. Bill

    February 10, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    In many state, the civil penalty for “wrongfully” cutting down a tree is triple its value. In court cases I’ve read about, the value is established by a forester who considers such things are sap production, board feet of lumber (including the quality of lumber), and replacement cost. If the Spauldings went after the neighbor, he could regret downing those trees.

  3. the Plumber

    February 11, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    I knew a plumber that hit a tree in the center of a street, took it out with his van, and the company paid for all of it.That was not a cheap tree!