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High-grading brings down health, value of woodland

Unsuspecting woodland owners selling timber often fall victim to a practice known as "high-grading"—cutting the best trees and leaving the rest.

"It’s like a rancher selling a prize-winning bull and keeping the losers for breeding," said Hank Stelzer, University of Missouri Extension state forestry specialist. "You’re cashing in your best assets and investing in your worst."

Cutting the biggest trees might produce a brief financial windfall, but the consequences can

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