Chief appraisers are solely responsible for determining timber productivity values within their respective appraisal districts. To do so, they must obtain information on forest types, soil types, timber growth, and forest product prices from sources listed in the Tax Code. While the following sources provide information on which to base determinations, the chief appraiser bears ultimate responsibility for determining timberland productivity value.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
The NRCS is the federal agency charged with inventorying and classifying the nation’s soils. This agency has detailed soil surveys of Texas timber-producing counties that show the potential productivity and site index of common trees in each soil series that is suitable for growing commercial trees. This information may be used to generate soil productivity maps.
United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service
The USDA Forest Service is a branch of the United States Department of Agriculture. The Texas Forest Service collects voluminous information about average timber growth and forest characteristics in East Texas timber counties as part of the Forest Inventory and Analysis. The USDA Forest Service publishes the results of these surveys.
Texas Forest Service (TFS)
The Texas Forest Service (TFS) is a state agency and has branch offices throughout the state’s timber region. TFS foresters help timber growers prepare management plans, giving priority to those with long-term timber production goals who are interested in using approved management practices, including cost-sharing. TFS headquarters are located in College Station, where the agency publishes a bi-monthly report of timber stumpage prices, called Texas Timber Price Trends. In addition, TFS publishes an annual report of timber harvests called Harvest Trends. This publication shows harvest information for each product and for each timber-producing county in Texas. Finally, the TFS has data about timber growth that the agency develops in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
Universities and colleges
The College of Forestry at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, the Department of Forest Science at Texas A&M University in College Station and other Texas colleges of forestry and universities with forest science departments often have research-based information unavailable from other sources. For example, personnel at the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station at Texas A&M University have developed forest type maps and soil productivity maps using United States Geological Survey maps and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service data, respectively. These maps are available upon request for a nominal fee to cover reproduction costs.