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The Outlook for Private Equity Timber Fundraising

The Outlook for Private Equity Timber Fundraising | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

The past 12 months have been a challenging period of fundraising for private equity vehicles investing in timber. Data from Preqin’s Funds in Market database, which tracks fundraising globally, documents the volatility in the market since the economic crisis. Timber fundraising reached a peak in 2008, with five vehicles reaching a final close, having raised $2.9bn in commitments. Comparatively, in 2009 five private equity vehicles closed, but only raised an aggregate $562mn in capital commitments. Timber fundraising returned to relatively healthy levels in 2010, with six vehicles closing having raised an aggregate of $1.7bn; however in 2011 fundraising decreased slightly, with five vehicles reaching a final close, having raised an aggregate $1.1bn in investor capital commitments. So far in 2012, only three funds have closed, having raised an aggregate $483mn for investment.

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Timberland Investment
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Sponsored by...

Sponsored by... | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Prentiss & Carlisle  is one of the largest timberland asset managers in North America. P&C provides ongoing management services on approximately 1.75 million acres of timberland located in Maine, Michigan, New York, Vermont, Wisconsin, Ontario and Quebec. Nearly every acre under management is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council through either our clients or through P&C itself, which holds FSC certificates for both Forest Management and Chain-of-Custody.


P&C provides turnkey land management from long-range forest planning through on-ground forestry, marketing of forest products, harvesting, transportation, road construction and maintenance, stump-to-mill accounting and reporting, client cash management, administration of third-party relationships, public advocacy/representation and strategic asset planning. P&C also provides specialized consulting services in related areas of expertise:

  • Timber inventory design, execution and analysis
  • G&Y modeling and timber harvest scheduling
  • GIS mapping and data management services
  • Timberland valuations and appraisals
  • Acquisition and disposition due diligence
  • Market studies
  • Timber supply modeling


About this magazine

Our aim is to provide a gathering place for news and opinion about timberland investing. We cover both publicly traded issues including listed timber companies, real estate investment trusts (REIT's), and exchange traded funds (ETF's), and the more private world of institutional investing in timberland. Our focus is on: the rationale for investing in timberland; performance of publicly traded timber investments; timberland deals and transactions; timber supply, demand and prices, and; public policy issues that impact timberland investing. Not interested in all of these topics? You can easily filter the stories by using the Tags button above.


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Some useful links


Stock quotes, news and financial metrics

These links take you to customized Google Finance pages for timber REITS, indexes and other publicly traded companies of interest:


Prentiss & Carlisle newsletters

Quarterly updates on conditions in our operating regions


Timber Mart North 

Lake States price reporting service published by P&C


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Mississippi timber prices hover around 2014 levels

Mississippi timber prices hover around 2014 levels | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
Mississippi’s timber industry is holding steady this year from 2014 as both the U.S. housing market and the demand for lumber continue to improve gradually.


State average stumpage prices for hardwood sawtimber declined sharply in the second fiscal quarter of 2015 from the first quarter, while pine sawtimber prices increased. Hardwood sawtimber is down compared to a year ago, while pine sawtimber is slightly higher.


Prices averaged $25 per ton for pine sawtimber, $14 per ton for pine chip-n-saw and $8 per ton for pine pulpwood. Mixed hardwood sawtimber sold for $33 per ton, while hardwood pulpwood averaged $9 per ton.


James Henderson, associate professor of forestry with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said pine sawtimber prices vary widely across the state depending on location, but current overall averages are hovering near where they were at this time in 2014 despite increased demand. “We have more standing timber in the state now than we did before the Great Recession started in 2006,” Henderson said. “Increased supply will keep downward pressure on prices.”

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Montana Harvest by County Tool

Montana Harvest by County Tool | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
In cooperation with the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station, the BBER has developed a new interactive tool allowing users to access timber harvest data at the county- and ownership-level for 5 western states.
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Conservation deal preserves Plum Creek land in Montana

Conservation deal preserves Plum Creek land in Montana | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

More than 15,000 acres of Plum Creek Timber Co. land northwest of Whitefish will be conserved through an agreement announced Monday by the company and The Trust for Public Land. The acreage is almost fully surrounded by the Stillwater State Forest except for a couple of parcels that border private land, said Tom Ray, vice president of Northwest resources and manufacturing for Plum Creek.


Under the agreement, The Trust for Public Land will have an option to purchase 1,920 acres and establish a conservation easement on the remaining 13,414 acres that Plum Creek will continue to own and manage as a working forest.
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All of the land in the agreement will be conserved, however, he added. Eventually the trust’s purchased property will be transferred into public ownership or to a conservation buyer. The agreement is subject to final conditions including appraisal and secured funding, Ray said.

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Forests, timberlands need fair tax policies

Forests, timberlands need fair tax policies | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
Two-thirds of the state’s forests are owned by family timberland owners who plant, harvest and replant their lands to produce the raw materials for products we use every day, and increasingly, to produce a source of energy. They’ll tell you that theirs is a long-term business and it’s critical for them to operate their business in a climate of certainty. For decades that certainty has been rendered through existing federal tax provisions that allow landowners to deduct the annual costs associated with growing healthy, sustainable timberlands.

But this certainty is threatened by a tax reform package introduced in Congress last year —the Tax Reform Act of 2014 — that would repeal all four of the tax provisions that encourage investments in timberlands and their sustainable management. These proposals would raise taxes on private forestland and flatten our forest economy — perhaps to a devastating degree for many rural South Carolina communities.

According to research by F&W Forestry Services that analyzed the impacts on a small forest land owner in the South, removing these provisions would reduce returns and cash flows by almost one-third. Most timberland owners, especially smaller ones, need cash flow to justify their long-term investment in their properties. Without existing forestry provisions, many timberland owners would potentially be forced to convert their land to other uses.
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Boston Dynamics' Atlas Robot Tested in the Woods

Sam Radcliffe's insight:

How long before timber cruisers are robotized?

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AFM Offers Cascade-Columbia Package

AFM Offers Cascade-Columbia Package | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
AFM Land Sales, LLC (AFMLS) has been engaged by a timberland investment owner to solicit sealed bids from interested participants for three separate timberland offerings known as the Cascade-Columbia Timberlands (the “Timberlands”). 

The offering is comprised of a combined 28,103± acres of professionally managed forestland located in southwest Washington.  The Timberlands will be offered for sale in three separate packages; the 12,671 acre Nisqually package, the 5,036± acre TWR package and the 10,395± acre Toppenish package.  Each will be offered in its entirety through a single-phase bid sale event. Interested parties are welcome to bid on one or any combination of all three properties with each package requiring an individual bid.
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CNNF-DNR Partner To Manage Timber In National Forest

CNNF-DNR Partner To Manage Timber In National Forest | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
The DNR and the U.S. Forest Service have announced an agreement where the state and the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest will partner on forest management within the 1.5 million acres of the state's only national forest. It's under the 2014 Farm Bill called Good Neighbor authority.

Under the agreement, the amount of timber offered for harvest that's in an approved plan will increase 25 percent to more than 100 million board feet in 2016.
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Plum Creek Timber Biding Its Time - Analyst Opinion

Plum Creek Timber Biding Its Time - Analyst Opinion | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

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When Plum Creek reported earnings in late July, the results largely reflected the overall lackluster trends in the housing, timber, and lumber markets. Revenue declined 15% from the prior year, with timber and manufacturing revenue down slightly and the volatile real estate business down quite a lot.


In the timber business, Plum Creek continues to seek to preserve long-term value by limiting its harvest levels at current prices. Northern volume was down 1% on a double-digit decline in sawlogs, as sawlog pricing fell about 5%. Pulp pricing was stronger and the company did meaningfully increase its volume in the quarter. The experience in the Southern business was broadly the same - management reduced sawlog production in response to weak pricing and increased pulpwood production in response to higher prices.


The 68% decline in real estate revenue was driven largely by a much lower level of land transactions. Plum Creek sold just over 16,000 acres in the second quarter, down from 67,000 acres in the year-ago period and 131,000 acres in the prior quarter. Land sales are "consistently inconsistent", and I wouldn't read much into the quarterly volatility. I'd also note that pricing was generally better than in the year-ago period for similar acreage types and the HBU/recreational land sales were at average prices about 5% higher than my assumptions in my NAV model.
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Very little has changed with respect to my long-term valuation assumptions. I continue to believe that Plum Creek's long-term net asset value is around $47/share (assuming an overall timberland value of $1,500/acre; with more than half of the acreage worth around $1,800 to $1,850/acre). Recent private market transactions have remained above the long-term per-acre values I estimate for Plum Creek, and the central pillar of my bullish thesis on Plum Creek remains that the public markets value the company's timberland less than "professional" buyers have been shown to be willing to pay for broadly similar assets.

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FSC certification yields financial benefits for tropical forest businesses, shows new WWF repor

FSC certification yields financial benefits for tropical forest businesses, shows new WWF repor | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
A new WWF cost-benefit analysis of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification on a cross-section of forest operators finds that tropical and small or medium producers, regardless of geography, can benefit significantly from attaining FSC certification.
 
The Profitability and Sustainability in Responsible Forestry: Economic impacts of FSC certification on forest operators report found that on average, the companies examined earned an extra US$1.80 for every cubic metre of FSC-certified roundwood or equivalent, over and above costs associated with certification. The Net Present Value (NPV) of the decision to pursue FSC was, on average, $6.69 per cubic metre of roundwood or equivalent – a strong positive business case overall for the decision to pursue FSC. 
 
These outcomes were achieved through price premiums, increased efficiency and other financial benefits. Results varied significantly by company size and geography. Tropical companies as well as small- and medium-size enterprises – regardless of geography – showed financial gains, while temperate and large producers were found to experience small losses. On average, it took the companies that were studied six years to break even on their investment in FSC.
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Weyerhaeuser (WY) Doyle R. Simons on Q2 2015 Results

Weyerhaeuser (WY) Doyle R. Simons on Q2 2015 Results | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

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Anthony Pettinari - Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. (Broker)
Okay, that's very helpful detail. And then maybe just one follow-up on timberlands. During the quarter, we saw announcements from a few large timber owners that they would put large properties on the market. I wonder generally, are you seeing any change in institutional interest for timberlands? Is it becoming a little bit more of a buyer's market? Are you seeing any trends in prices changing? And is there an opportunity for Weyerhaeuser, as a buyer or a seller, especially in the South?

Doyle R. Simons - President, Chief Executive Officer & Director
And so, I would say, overall, when you step back, Anthony, the amount of activity still is generally low in the South and the West. As you mentioned, there were some facts that came on, became available in the first half of the year, I would say, most of those have some unique challenges that people will have to work through in terms of how they're going to value those. I would say, we expect more activity in the second half of the year, and I can tell you, there's still a lot of money chasing deals. So, no, I don't see any downward pressure on timberland prices at this point in time.

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Potlatch's (PCH) CEO Michael Covey on Q2 2015 Results

Potlatch's (PCH) CEO Michael Covey on Q2 2015 Results | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

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Gail Glazerman - UBS Investment Research
Okay. And can you just give some broader perspective on the timberland market. There has been a lot of large deals out there, and just kind of what your thought is on the land that’s available on the market, and whether you think it’s an unusual amount, and if so what you think driving that?

Michael Covey - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Well, there are, I think, about four deals publicly announced for sale. I don’t think that’s a particularly a large amount, but I think what’s unusual is, they haven’t cleared as quickly as usual, which I think is indicative of some of the underlying challenges of the property whether it’s supply agreements, the underlying quality of the land, the heavy HBU component in the Foley tract. ... Molpus just announced a very small package on the market as well. I think, it wouldn’t surprise that, these haven’t sold quickly, and I think it will take some time to clear in the market and that wouldn’t surprise us that they traded a significant discount from where we’ve seen kind of the higher quality property. For example, a property that we purchased last year in Alabama and Mississippi for about $1,900 an acre, I would expect many of these will clear for less than that.
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George Staphos - Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Mike, recognizing this in advanced science, do you have a view on what the money on the sidelines might look to be typically the numbers thrown around are $2 billion, $3 billion, does that number come down significantly, recently, or is it even higher?

Michael Covey - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
I have no idea. I really don’t. Like you said, it’s not a science, I don’t know.
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Paul Quinn - RBC Capital Markets
Okay. That’s great. And then just back on the timberline side, you referenced the number of large transactions out there. But it seems the volume of timberland put up for sale this year has been very light. What do you attribute that to, and what are your expectations going forward here?

Eric Cremers - President and Chief Operating Officer
Yes. So, Paul, I think at this point in time in the recovery, we really haven’t seen sawlog prices move much in the South. And so, it’s going to take time for that recovery to play itself out. My guess is, if you are a holder of timberland right now, you might be better served waiting until you see some of that price recovery, that’s the first thing.

Then the second thing is, it’s all just a matter of timing of when investors bought this timberland and generally there is 10-year holding period more or less and people can extend out that holding period if they want to in their arrangements with the TIMOs that are managing the property for them. So I think there are better times ahead for timber markets in the South. And in general, people may just be waiting for those better times.
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Mark Weintraub - Buckingham Research
... And I guess the question I have is, how easy or difficult do you think it would be for you right now to sell land at values that are comparable to the type of numbers you have embedded in your view of net asset value? And to then turn around and potentially use that for share repurchase, if you were to decide to go down that path? And what type of size of properties might be contemplated, if you were to go that path?

Michael Covey - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Well, there is lots of hypotheticals there. But our experience in the past in Idaho, we’ve sold some 20,000 to 30,000 acre tracts for around $1,500 to $1,700 an acre. We sold property in the south for similar numbers of $1,600 to $1,800 an acre, this is some years ago. Certainly, I think pricing is stronger in the west than it is in the south where we have - we are at very strong log prices in the west pricings recovered nicely. So I think while you make a point that perhaps there’s a reason to wait in the south to put timberland on the market, I don’t think that same logic exists in the northwest. I think pricing is still quite strong and we’ve seen some very high value transactions particularly in Oregon and Washington or of course we don’t own timberland there, but they’re going well.

So, I think in terms of size, I think and you would think in this 50,000 to 100,000, 200,000 acre range certainly is in the strike zone for many of the TIMOs and the kind of money that they want to allocate to timberland investments. And if we were to contemplate something, it would probably be in that size category, which probably would match up nicely. If we did decide, the board did decide to pursue a repurchase program and our stock continues to trade at a deep discount and that would leave a nice basket of proceeds to execute such a program.

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State website provides information on timber prices

State website provides information on timber prices | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
The Arkansas Forest Resources Center is debuting a newly redesigned Arkansas Timber Price report, now available online.
The report provides statewide average stumpage prices for pine pulpwood, pine chip-n-saw, pine sawtimber, hardwood pulpwood, mixed hardwood sawtimber and oak sawtimber products. The generalized prices in this report provide interested landowners with a reference for market conditions.
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Teachers' pension fund up $386 million

Teachers' pension fund up $386 million | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

The Arkansas Teacher Retirement System's investments increased from $386 million to $14.97 billion in the fiscal year that ended June 30, system executive director George Hopkins said Monday. More recent figures, reflecting a sharp downturn in the stock market, aren't yet available, Hopkins added.


The system's investment return was 5.2 percent in fiscal 2015, ranking among the top 2 percent of the nation's public pension systems, Hopkins said in a memo to the system's board of trustees.
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The system's real estate investments recorded a 13.4 percent investment return to $1.2 billion, timber investments had a 9.4 percent investment return to reach $382 million, and agriculture investments posted a 2.5 percent investment return to reach $84 million, the investment consulting firm said.

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Blue Source and Forest Investment Associates Register 1st Wisconsin Forest Carbon Project with California's Cap and Trade Program

Blue Source and Forest Investment Associates Register 1st Wisconsin Forest Carbon Project with California's Cap and Trade Program | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
As project manager for Forest Investment Associates (FIA), Blue Source today announced the registration of over 695,000 forest carbon offsets with California’s cap and trade carbon market. Situated on approximately 30,000 acres of mixed hardwood forest in Wisconsin, the Blue Source- Goodman Improved Forest Management Project represents Blue Source’s second Lake-State based forest project under California’s program.

As a result of pre-contracted sales conducted by Blue Source, the project will immediately generate carbon revenue for FIA. In addition to marketing the project credits, Blue Source provided development services, ushering the project from conception through inventory development, carbon modeling, 3rd party verification, and credit registration.
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Montana Quarterly Log Prices

Montana Quarterly Log Prices | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Under the sponsorship of the Inland Northwest Forest Products Research Consortium, the Bureau maintains a system to provide current mill-delivered prices for logs in Montana. These prices are based on quarterly surveys of Montana timber-processing plants. Sawlog prices are reported quarterly by product type and species. Past specialty log price reports are also available.

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Housing Stocks Offer a Ray of Hope

Housing Stocks Offer a Ray of Hope | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Rattled by last week’s rout, stock investors are taking comfort in a corner of the market that remains standing: housing stocks.


Stock markets have been pounded in the past week amid mounting evidence that global growth is hitting the skids, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday entered a correction, referring to a drop of 10% from a recent peak.


Yet many investors say the recent plunge in stocks is unlikely to turn into an outright collapse, in large part because core areas of the U.S. economy—including the housing sector and related industries—are still on relatively solid footing.


The $2.1 billion SPDR S&P Homebuilders Exchange-Traded Fund, which tracks shares of companies ranging from home builders to mattress makers, is up 9.2% in the year to date. The S&P 500 has fallen 4.3% in the same period. On Friday, the fund’s shares fell 2.3% compared with a 3.2% decline in the broader index.
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The housing market’s recovery from the subprime-mortgage crisis and the Great Recession has been a bumpy one. Home buying and construction slowed in 2013 after jobs growth hit a soft patch and borrowing costs spiked during the so-called taper tantrum.


Lately, though, the housing sector has gained steam, and some money managers say that could help offset the weakness in China and other emerging markets that have roiled markets.


Despite the jump in housing shares over the past year, many remain well below their peaks, which some money managers argue gives them more room to run. The SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF is 20% below its record from April 2006, according to FactSet.


In July, housing starts rose to the highest level since October 2007. Sentiment among home builders is at its highest level in nearly a decade, according to a gauge from the National Association of Home Builders.

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With a stunning 7 million acres burned so far, the U.S. wildfire situation is looking dire

With a stunning 7 million acres burned so far, the U.S. wildfire situation is looking dire | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
Wildfires are exploding across the western United States, overstretching resources and, in some states, resulting in tragic consequences.

Some 30,000 firefighters and additional support staff are now fighting fires across the United States — the biggest number mobilized in 15 years, according to the U.S. Forest Service. And it’s still not enough.

Two hundred members of the military are being called up to help further — they will be trained and deployed within just a few days — as are Canadian firefighting forces. There’s even some talk of potentially needing to draw on resources from Australia and New Zealand, which has been done before in a pinch.

And no wonder: Five states are now battling more than 1o large wildfires — California is contending with 16, Idaho 21, Montana 14, Oregon 11 and Washington 17. Most terrifying, perhaps, is the Soda Fire, which has scorched 283,686 acres in Idaho, burning up ranches, killing wild horses, even generating an alarming fire whirl recently.
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State Land Board approves selling Elliott State Forest

State Land Board approves selling Elliott State Forest | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
The State Land Board has approved selling the Elliott State Forest to a buyer who will agree to restrictive conditions: pay a fair market price, conserve older trees, protect threatened fish and wildlife, produce logs for local mills, and leave it open to the public.

The board made up of the governor, the secretary of state and the state treasurer unanimously endorsed a resolution Thursday in Salem to go forward with the sale.

The forest in the Coast Range north of Coos Bay has been running $1 million a year in the red because timber sales have been overturned for failing to protect fish and wildlife habitat.

"This action today comes after years of hard work and thorough consideration of input from a wide spectrum of interested citizens," Department of State Lands director Mary Abrams said in a statement. "We believe the adopted protocol will allow the Land Board to meet their trustee responsibilities to the schoolchildren of Oregon through a transfer that balances economic and conservation values."

A meeting is scheduled for Sept. 17 in Salem to provide potential buyers with specifics on the conditions of the sale.

The 140-square-mile forest was created in 1930 and 90 percent of it generates money for schools. It once produced $8 million a year for the Common School Fund. Attempts to increase logging to produce $13 million annually for schools failed. Lawsuits continually blocked timber sales on the grounds that they failed to maintain habitat for federally protected coho salmon and the marbled murrelet, a seabird that nests in big old trees.

Prospects for a timber company buying the forest with all the conditions attached seem unlikely. One potential scenario is that a public land trust would buy it and then sell it to the federal government, returning it to the Siuslaw National Forest, from which it originally came.
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Timbervest restoring Yolo habitat

Timbervest restoring Yolo habitat | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Timbervest, an Atlanta company, has announced that it restoring and preserving 85 natural habitats representing approximately 30,000 acres — including streams and wetlands — across the U.S., including southern Yolo County.


The projects, a record number of active restoration ventures for Timbervest, are comprised of mitigation and conservation banks that generate money through the sale of credits to companies, municipalities and other entities that have adversely affected the environment. These banks enable Timbervest to restore, preserve or create habitats set aside permanently for wildlife.
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Timbervest creates and manages mitigation and conservation banks through subsidiaries such as Wildlands, a habitat development and land management company. Since its founding in 1995, Timbervest has helped restore or preserve over 30,000 acres of wetland and more than 40,000 acres of threatened or endangered species habitat.
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More than $200 million of Timbervest’s investment portfolio, which includes nearly 600,000 acres of timberland valued at more than $1 billion, is dedicated to ecosystem restoration initiatives, also known as Crossover AssetsTM. Timbervest is among the largest investment managers within this asset class in terms of both assets under management and number of projects.

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Phaunos Timber Partner Injecting Funds Into Joint Venture

Phaunos Timber Partner Injecting Funds Into Joint Venture | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
Phaunos Timber Fund Ltd on Thursday said it has reached an agreement in principle with Rayonier for a capital infusion into their Matariki Forestry Group joint venture in New Zealand, which will allow the venture to repay all outstanding amounts under its existing NZD235 million credit facility.


The deal is expected to close by the end of the year and should generate NZD15 million a year in cost savings, Phaunos said.

"The reduction of the Matariki joint venture debt has been a key objective for both the directors of Phaunos and Stafford Capital Partners since the latter became manager in July 2014," said Stephen Addicott, a partner with Stafford Capital Partners, the manager of the Phaunos fund.

"The transaction, based on Matariki's net asset value, is not expected to involve any loss of value or loss of rights under the existing shareholders agreement," Addicott added.
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Aussie firm buys Marlborough forestry land

Aussie firm buys Marlborough forestry land | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
An Australian company has reached an agreement to buy more than 4000 hectares of Marlborough forestry land.

Sydney fund management firm New Forests  plans to buy approximately 4200 hectares of freehold land and softwood plantations from the Flight Group. 

Completion of the purchase was subject to approval by the Overseas Investment Office.

The plantations consisted of radiata pine. The sale price was not revealed when the deal was announced on Wednesday.

The agreement formed part of a larger transaction which would see Flight Group sell sawmilling assets from their Flight Timbers division, in Marlborough, to Timberlink, an Australian timber processor.

Timberlink was also an investee company of New Forests.

New Forests chief executive David Brand said the planned acquisition would expand their presence in New Zealand to a total of more than 12,000 hectares of softwood plantations.
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Mid-Year Housing Report: Starts, Data, and Trends

Mid-Year Housing Report: Starts, Data, and Trends | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
Despite the one-month dip in May (11 percent below the revised April number), housing starts continue to provide some positive news in an otherwise sluggish economic environment. Coming off of an eight-year high and an April rally that posted a 20.2 percent increase over the revised March estimate, the sector continues its forecasted summer surge by posting respectable gains in June.

June housing starts were at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 1,174,000, or 9.8 percent above the revised May data and estimate of 1,069,000. This number also represents a 26.6 increase over the June 2014 rate of 927,000. Single-family housing starts in June actually decreased slightly by 0.9 percent, which is below the revised May figure of 691,000. On a regional basis, single- and multi-family home growth was highest in the Northeast (35.5 percent increase) and the Southeast (13.5 percent increase), while the West and Midwest posted 6 percent and 0.7 percent decreases, respectively.

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate continues to increase, finishing the month of June at 4.02 percent compared to 3.87 percent at the end of May. Notably, home builder confidence rose a modest one point over last month to a level of 60, which was enough to match the highest it has been in over a decade.

Much like last month, new applications for multi-family building permits drove the large increase in this category. June authorizations were at a SAAR of 1,343,000, which is 7.4 percent above the revised May rate of 1,250,000 and 30 percent above the June 2014 estimate of 1,033,000. However, single-family permits were just 0.9 percent above the revised May figure.
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IKEA Gets Deeper Into the Woods

IKEA Gets Deeper Into the Woods | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

IKEA is working to wield more control over its most important raw material: wood. The Swedish furniture giant earlier this month bought a forest in Romania, marking the first time that the company will manage its own forest operations.


IKEA said owning and operating forests would help it secure long-term access to sustainably managed wood at affordable prices. The retailer used the equivalent of about 530 million cubic feet of round wood last fiscal year—or about 14 Empire State Buildings—excluding paper and packaging. 


Timber prices are expected to increase globally as population, the use of biomass for energy and U.S. housing sales are on the rise, said George Krempels, a fund manager at FIM Services Ltd.
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IKEA in 2012 set a target to double sales to €50 billion ($55 billion) by 2020. That involves more than doubling the volume of products it sells, said IKEA’s head of sustainability, Steve Howard, since the retailer tries to lower overall prices slightly every year. Despite this, IKEA is aiming to increase the wood it uses by only about 50%, Mr. Howard said in an interview. To do this, the company has been working on optimizing its product designs to make the best use of trees.

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IKEA is increasingly relying on recycled wood for its furniture. By 2020, the company wants all the wood its uses to be either recycled or certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, a nonprofit group that promotes responsible forestry. So far, about 50% of the wood it uses meets either criteria.


IKEA also has its own foresters, who strive to ensure it is buying from well-managed forests. However, the company—which buys much of its wood in Scandinavia, Poland, Romania, China and Russia— has run into problems on its sustainability practices.

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LandVest Timberlands exceeds $200 million in timberland closings in 1H 2015

LandVest Timberlands exceeds $200 million in timberland closings in 1H 2015 | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
Closing out the books on a busy first half of 2015, LandVest reports timberland transaction closings worth of $216 million between January and June. The sales occurred in all three regions of the U.S. (West, South & East) and represent 21 separate transactions in 11 different states, as the company said in the press release received by Lesprom Network.

“What we experienced in the first half of the year is representative of the overall market”, notes Joe Taggart, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Timberland Transactions. “Perhaps more importantly, however, is the diversity of sales and geographies. Typically, we will see specific regions, property sizes, or property types having more activity in one part of the cycle. This year, we have seen strong activity across the board and across the country.”


The diversity of sales include retail, recreational parcels in the Northeast & mid-Atlantic; mixed-use properties like the 1,500 acre Childress Place in Sardis, Mississippi or the 28,000 acre Brandon property in upstate New York; and wholesale timberland opportunities like the 21,000 acre Cherry Springs property in Pennsylvania, the 12,000 acre King property in Louisiana and the 30,000-acre Gualala Redwoods ownership in California.


LandVest expects this market to continue through the end of the year. According to Taggart, “we have a number of projects currently under agreement to close in the second half of the year, strong activity on our existing available inventory and a full pipeline of projects to come online through the 1Q 2016.”
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