Massachusetts Timber Harvesting License Program

Every person, firm, or corporation harvesting wood products for hire or profit on a timber harvesting operation that falls under the Forest Cutting Practices Act (MGL Ch132) must hold a timber harvester license. The purpose is to assure that those harvesting timber in Massachusetts are familiar with the laws governing commercial timber harvesting

Licenses are issued on a state fiscal year calendar where all licenses expire on June 30 of each year. Renewal notices are annually sent out in late spring. Applicants will be notified when they are required to take an exam. An exam is required for a first time applicant, an applicant with an expired license OR an applicant that does not meet continuing education requirements after 3 continuous years of licensure.

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Who needs to obtain a Timber Harvest License?

Chapter 132, Section 46, of the Forest Cutting Practices Law requires that “no person, firm or corporation engage in the business of harvesting timber or other Forest products for hire or profit shall cut such products on land devoted to forest purposes and for purposes not exempted by Chapter 132, section 44 without first obtaining a license and to do so from the Director who is hereby authorized to issue such licenses, and to withhold or revoke such licenses, after a hearing for failure to comply with Sections 42 to 46, inclusive.”

The legislature provides a penalty of not more than $500.00 for each violation of this law which requires that a license be outstanding in the name of the person, firm or corporation actually cutting forest products, whether on the land of the license holder or the land of another.

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Timber Harvest License Exam

Chapter 132 Section 46 of the Massachusetts General Law requires: “Applicants [for timber harvesting licenses] shall demonstrate general familiarity with the laws of the Commonwealth that concern timber harvesting and provide the Director [of the Division of Forest & Parks] such reasonable information as the Director may require concerning the amount and type of forest products cut [harvested, not milled or processed] by the applicant during the previous year.”

This passage refers to loggers of sawtimber and cordwood, including those connected with sawmills.

Therefore prior to issuance of a harvesting license, all applicants are required to demonstrate general familiarity with the pertinent laws of the Commonwealth by either completing at least nine hours of continuing education over three consecutive years or by taking the timber harvester licensing exam.

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Exam Study Material

Tax Compliance Certification

Before the issuance of any license, the Department of Conservation and Recreation is required to file with the Department of Revenue a State Tax Compliance Certificate (found on the application form). Complete the enclosed form and return it to this office with your application. You are required to submit either your Social Security Number or a Federal Identification Number.

Additional Resources   for Tax Compliance Certification

Continuing Education

Continuing Education is a requirement for maintaining a Massachusetts timber harvester license.  After 3 years of continuous licensure, a license applicant must show proof of nine (9) credits of continuing education of which three (3) of those credits must be focused on the Ch. 132 Forest Cutting Practices Act regulations.  The remaining six (6) credits may be from various educational resources.  Please refer to the THL continuing education policy or send email inquiries to

DCR Service Forestry provides training that focuses on the Ch. 132 Forest Cutting Practices Act regulations by offering in-person workshops and is now starting to offer online video tutorials.  See links below for more details:

In-Person Workshops

Pre-registration is required for all workshops. All workshops are approved for 3 CEUs towards the Massachusetts Timber Harvester License. All attendees are responsible for maintenance of their own records.

Join DCR foresters at this walk and talk field series where they will discuss current forest health concerns in Massachusetts.

Online Video Tutorials

Coming Soon!  More Training Videos

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Additional Resources   for Continuing Education

Find a Licensed Timber Harvester

Please see attachment for a complete list of Licensed Timber Harvesters.

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Timber Mat Pilot Program FY24

The Department of Conservation and Recreation is launching the new Timber Mat Pilot Program for Spring 2024. This program will offer eligible applicants financial assistance towards new timber mats through a cost-share reimbursement process. The Timber Mat Program is a branch of the Healey-Driscoll Administration's Forests as Climate Solutions Initiative. This pilot program is for Spring 2024 only and funding is limited. Please read the documents below for more information

Additional Resources   for Timber Mat Pilot Program FY24

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