Guide 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 Timber harvester licenses are valid for one year. There is an exam required for first time applicants or those who have let their license lapse.

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.

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.

Additional Resources

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

Continuing Education

Continuing Education is a requirement for maintaining a harvested license.  A total of 9 credit hours are required over a 3 year period.  Three (3) of those credit hours must be on the Forest Cutting Practices Act.  DCR typically offers free 3 credit hour workshops across the state each spring that meet the legal requirements.

Find a Licensed Timber Harvester

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

Additional Resources


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