This question is in regards to border tree cutting. My neighbor hired a logger to cut along the border of our property. He did not notify us. When we went out to the woods we witnessed the loggers taking trees down right along the border. He used an old fence line to determine the border and used a metal detector to find the fence. The property had been surveyed but no intermediate stakes had been put in. Putting aside for a moment the fact that the fence could be wildly inaccurate and that no effort was made to contact us before the cutting, what is the protocol for cutting near the boundary. In this case they were an inch or two from the supposed border. Is there no buffer zone? The logger maintained that the trees were selected by the owner and he was just following instructions.

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Hi, Jim.

Remnants of metal fencing indicate the former location of a fence. So your implication that they may not accurately show the location of the property boundary is sound. Fences could have been built well to one side or the other of a known boundary for a variety of reasons and this is not uncommon.  I've seen fence lines curve and meander rather wildly.

If the property corners are evidenced by pipes, bars, or pins, and the boundary lines between them are correctly blazed and painted, neighbors and loggers will get the message that many aspects of property are important to you, including which trees are owned by whom.  It's always good-neighbor policy to meet with one's neighbor to discuss boundary tree cutting.  Any tree that is "on the line" can, by mutual agreement, be left uncut or be cut and thus a dispute can be avoided. 

There is no legal or customary concept of a buffer zone.  Being careful not to damage someone else's property is a Golden Rule type of thing.

If you think that trees on your property were cut, you can hire a consulting forester to estimate their value. However, if the bits of fencing were the only evidence of the line, then you may have a difficult time recovering money.  Whether you pursue the issue may depend on the value of the trees that were "taken".  

One of the best things to do soon is to make sure your other boundaries are appropriately marked.

I hope this was helpful and that others will comment on your post.

Tim

Tim,

Thanks for your reply. The loggers offered to split the money on the worst incursion into the "neutral zone"-the owner did not. Interestingly, the property on the other side of the area in question which we also own shows clearly from a stamped survey map that the survey line and the "fence remants" veer away from each other in a straight line over 1500 feet and are 40 feet apart at the other end which computes to over 1 acre.  So if the fence remnants were taken as gospel on the other side, a large error would be the result.

We aren't going to do anything other than explain to the landowner surprise that they couldn't take a few minutes to contact us to try to work out a mutually agreeable solution. We will consider the fence the line which it probably isn't and act accordingly. One good thing is there are no more trees along the neighbor's side of the fence remnants. There will be no more boundary cutting from their side.

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