Metes and bounds are notoriously unreliable since the original features may be long gone. If the legal description of the parcel relies on an oak tree, now gone, how do you know where the property line is? The line might run for 137 feet in a specified direction, but from where?So you are saying he cant cut his own timber on his 17 acres? I lost something in the translation I guess.
If the description is ambiguous, it's hard to know the actual area and the actual boundaries. On a larger property, the difference can be significant, often 10 percent of the area, sometimes 20 percent.
We rented a house in Maryland (also metes and bounds) where the misclosure was 11 feet even though the property was almost perfect rectangle of 3000 square feet. The surveyor walked 200 or 300 feet from their starting point and ended up 11 feet shy on almost level ground.
The OP is worried that his neighbor is going to cut his trees, not the neighbors.