Timber theft and trespass are ongoing problems for woodland owners in Kentucky. Timber theft is the intentional stealing of timber. This involves a criminal trespass and a criminal theft. Timber theft can be criminally prosecuted as a felony and the owner having the timber stolen can seek restitution. Timber trespass is the unintentional harvesting and removal of timber. This occurs when a boundary line is unknowingly crossed in the woods and timber is removed.
Regardless of whether a timber theft or trespass occurs Kentucky has a civil law that provides the “rules” for compensation to landowners having their timber cut. Unfortunately, many local law enforcement agencies are not equipped to handle timber theft or trespass cases and the victim has to assume a significant amount of involvement (monetarily and time) in prosecution and/or settlement. Both woodland owners selling timber and woodland owners wanting to protect timber and woodlands need to understand the law, their risk factors for timber trespass and theft, how to decrease the chances for unauthorized cutting, and finally what to do and how to get help in case of timber issue.
Click on the titles of the following 2008 publications for more information on timber theft and trespass:
Timber Trespass and Theft
UK, Cooperative Extension Publication FOR-109
This ten page publication provides detailed information and is recommended for a thorough understanding of theft and trespass.
Timber Trespass and Theft – Quick Review
UK, Cooperative Extension Publication FOR 08-03
A two-page summary of timber theft and trespass.
Timber Trespass in Kentucky
Kentucky Woodlands Magazine 3(1)
An article from the Kentucky Woodlands Magazine summarizing issues associated with timber trespass and theft.
Woodland Owners Can Protect Land from Timber Trespass, Theft
UK College of Agriculture Press Release