What Is a Tree Survey and When Do I Need It?

Surveyor Performing Tree Survey

Our natural resources are precious and valuable. Conservation of these resources has become a priority for both people and organizations that work to preserve and protect them. Certain species of trees have become sparse in later years due to over harvesting; protecting them has become a priority. Because of this, anyone looking to clear, build on, or study forested land will likely need to obtain a forestry or tree survey before starting the project.




A forestry survey takes measurements and data on the types of trees in the forested area, where they’re located, how large they are, their age, and so forth. In essence, it’s an assessment of a forested area in general. Topographical data may also be collected.


So When Do I Need One?


If the land for your project just has a few scattered trees on it, you likely don’t need a forestry survey. But, if your project involves clearing out a section of forested area, you should order a forestry survey for the property.


As stated, one of the reasons to perform a forestry survey is to assess what types of trees are present in the forest. Certain types of trees are protected by law, so knowing what’s on the property will help you know if there are any trees you need to avoid cutting or that you’ll need to replace. In this case, you’ll need one of these surveys when:


  • Clearing land for development, either when building new structures or for landscaping
  • Harvesting wood
  • Preparing maps for property resale
  • Performing studies and assessments on the forest for research purposes


It’s important to know that this isn’t just about saving trees. It can also help you assess—or even increase—the value of the property. If you plan to develop the land, knowing what trees are where can help you make plans that incorporate them into the overall plot layout in an aesthetically pleasing way, ultimately improving its value.


Surveying Services


If you are looking to develop any plot of land with or without trees on it, you will need a survey. Professional surveying services, such as those provided by Votex Surveying Company, can help you plan construction, design, and land development wisely.

ALTA Surveys Vs. Regular Surveys

ALTA Surveying
ALTA Surveys Are Used for Real Estate Transactions, Titling, and Mortgages.


There are many types of surveys used when assessing a parcel of land. Among the most common are ALTA/NSPS surveys, called ALTA surveys for short. These surveys differ from more basic surveys in that they must provide highly specific information in accordance with strict standards. When deciding on the type of survey you need for your parcel of land, it helps to know the difference between ALTA surveys and regular border surveys.


Regular Border Surveys


The purpose of a regular border survey is simply to pin down the boundaries of the property. These surveys may also show the easements (permissions that allow others to use or cross the land) as well as other significant details.


These surveys are fairly basic, and as such, generally cost far less than an ALTA survey, but can still be costly for larger pieces of property. Border surveys are primarily necessary for construction and permits, though they also form a foundation for other types of surveys.


ALTA Surveys


ALTA surveys are a more advanced type of boundary survey and are used for mortgage, title insurance, and real estate transactions. ALTA surveys must adhere to very specific requirements set forth by the American Land Title Association (ALTA) and the National Society of Professional Surveyors.


ALTA/NSPS Requirements


These standards are intended to make real estate transactions as fair and comparable as possible. Some of the items that must be included in the survey are:


  • Easements, rights of way, and other encumbrances
  • Encroachments, or improvements on other pieces of property that intrude into the one being surveyed
  • Legal routes to access the property, such as public roads
  • Zoning setbacks, which are improvements that may be in violation of zoning laws
  • Flood zones
  • Water boundaries
  • Evidence of cemeteries
  • A legal description of the property along with plenty of preliminary research


ALTA surveys must be highly precise, meaning there is very little room for error when determining the boundaries and locations of improvements, encroachments, etc.


It takes highly precise equipment and extensive research to perform these surveys. When you need an ALTA survey, or any type of land survey, choose Votex Surveying Company to deliver an accurate, high quality work. Contact Votex today at (469) 333-8831 to discuss the details of your project.