Laws, Civil and Criminal Penalties Timber Theft

How to Avoid Timber Theft

For a direct link to state statutory language for timber theft, criminal and civil penalties, please click here:


Many timber theft cases involve absentee landowners who are vulnerable because they aren’t around to protect their property. In these cases, the thief is often long gone by the time the crime is discovered. The West Virginia Division of Forestry’s Special Operations and Enforcement Unit takes this very seriously. If you have questions or concerns, contact us at 304-558-2788, option 9.

Here are several tips to avoid being a victim of timber theft:

Absentee Landowners:

  • Have someone you know and trust immediately report any cutting or trespassing on your land.
  • Mark all property lines to assure cutting on adjacent property does not encroach on yours.

Forest landowners:

  • Have a Bill of Sale before any cutting begins and NEVER sign a contract without checking several references of the buyer.
  • For the best price, insist on getting bids for your timber. Most importantly, if you do not know the timber business, find someone who does to help you determine volumes, current prices and potential bidders.

Use these resources below to help protect yourself from timber theft:Call Before You Cut Web Site

List of Consulting Foresters

Association of Consulting Foresters

DOF Regional Offices

If you see any individual or company violating the aforementioned laws, please report it to WV Forestry immediately. Thank you for keeping our forests safe!

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The West Virginia Division of Forestry is committed to protecting, nurturing, sustaining, and promoting the wise utilization of our state’s forest resources.


Established in 1909, as a declaration of the state government for the need of forest protection and research, the West Virginia Division of Forestry protects and conserves the state’s forest resources.