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Brookfield Infrastructure Reports Year-End 2012 Results; timber income down; $85 million deal completed

Brookfield Infrastructure Reports Year-End 2012 Results; timber income down; $85 million deal completed | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Brookfield Infrastructure posted solid results for the year ended December 31, 2012 with funds from operations ("FFO") totalling $462 million ($2.41 per unit) compared to FFO of $392 million ($2.41 per unit) in 2011. This 18% increase in year-over-year FFO was primarily driven by significant expansion projects that were successfully commissioned during the year and to a lesser extent, new investments. FFO per unit of $2.41 was flat compared to the prior year as investments made with proceeds from recent equity offerings did not fully contribute to cash flows during the year. Brookfield Infrastructure's payout ratio was 62%, which is well within its target range of 60%-70%, and it earned a solid AFFO yield of 10%.

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Brookfield Infrastructure's timber platform reported FFO of $22 million in 2012, compared to $33 million in the prior year. Results reflect soft demand from Asia early in the year, which caused average realized prices to decline by more than 7%, combined with operational restrictions due to a prolonged fire season that impacted its harvest in the second half of the year. For the year, exports represented 41% of total log sales, which was down from 47% in the prior year as demand in the domestic markets strengthened with early stages of recovery in the U.S. housing market.

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In December, Brookfield Infrastructure completed the sale of a 12.5% interest in its Canadian timberlands to an institutional investor for approximately $85 million, which is equivalent to its IFRS book value.

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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 1.5 million acres of timberland located in Maine, Vermont, New York, Michigan, Wisconsin 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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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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Oregon considers selling entire forest to benefit schools

Oregon considers selling entire forest to benefit schools | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

The state of Oregon will consider selling the whole Elliott State Forest, where legal battles over logging and protections for threatened species have reduced revenues for schools.


Jim Paul, assistant director of the Department of State Lands, said Friday the forest has turned from an asset into a liability, costing the Common School Fund $3 million last year. He says the state has a responsibility to see if it can turn that around.


He adds that selling off the whole forest, whether to a timber company or conservation groups, is just one in a spectrum of possibilities that will be examined by department staff in coming months so the State Lands Board can make a decision.

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The Elliott covers about 90,000 acres north of Coos Bay. It includes some of the last older forest in the Coast Range, where most forests are privately owned and heavily logged. As the state has tried to increase harvest levels in recent years to meet local demands for logs and revenue, it has run into difficulties meeting federal requirements to protect habitat for threatened northern spotted owls, marbled murrelets and coho salmon.


A lawsuit from conservation groups over protections for marbled murrelets, a seabird that nests in large old trees, has resulted in withdrawal of several timber sales. Protesters have occupied timber sales to prevent logging.


The State Lands Board, made up of the governor, state treasurer and secretary of state, decided last December to sell off five parcels from the forest to get a better idea of its value in light of logging restrictions to protect threatened species.


The deadline for bids on three of them was Friday. Paul said the names of the winners would not be disclosed until Wednesday.

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CatchMark Completes $74 Million Acquisition of Timberlands in Georgia and East Texas

CatchMark Completes $74 Million Acquisition of Timberlands in Georgia and East Texas | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

CatchMark Timber Trust, Inc.  announced today the completion of its transaction to purchase 36,300 acres of timberland (known as the Waycross-Panola properties) located in Southeast Georgia and East Texas from Hancock Timber Resource Group for approximately $74 million.


The acquisition adds approximately 1.45 million tons of merchantable timber to CatchMark's inventory and increases the share of higher value chip-n-saw and sawtimber in the company's product mix. Comprising 84% pine plantations by acreage and 54% sawtimber by tons, the Waycross-Panola properties are expected to add approximately 180,000 to 200,000 tons to CatchMark's annual harvest volumes over the next decade.

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Canada & U.S. “Top 20” Lumber Producers’ Annual Report: The big Companies are Getting Bigger!

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Former Abitibi timber rights sold to California company

Former Abitibi timber rights sold to California company | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

A company from California has won the harvesting rights to a large wood supply in central Newfoundland that once belonged to Abitibi-Bowater.


CBC News has learned that Rentech now has ownership of the 280,000 cubic metres of wood that once belonged to the former newsprint producer, which shut down its Grand Falls-Windsor mill in early 2009

Rentech, mainly a fertilizer company in the U.S., is looking into producing wood pellets in Canada.


The company has access to a large wood resource in Ontario, and also owns two wood pellet plants in that province.


In November, the company purchased in idled mill in Wawa, Ont. to convert it into a pellet production facility. It has yet to produce any pellets, but the company said it does have customers.

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MBAs Design Sustainable Investment Funds

MBAs Design Sustainable Investment Funds | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

The winning team in Morgan Stanley's sustainable finance competition summoned a vision of groves of poplar trees on polluted industrial sites, delivering competitive returns to private investors while cleaning up toxics and boosting real estate values.


Fresh Coast Capital, from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, will receive $10,000 as the winner of the Morgan Stanley Sustainable Investing Challenge, which encourages business school students to develop scalable, institutional-grade financial vehicles to solve serious social and environmental problems.
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The winning team proposed to rehabilitate contaminated urban and industrial sites by raising a $50 million fund to plant poplar farms on 25,000 leased acres of contaminated municipal land. Poplars naturally clean and restore soil by absorbing toxins, starting from the first year of growth. In as little as four years, they would be ripe for harvest for timber, pulp and paper processing or biomass energy use.


Fresh Coast projects annual returns of 6 to 8 percent over a 10-year investment, in line with returns from tree plantations in the northern U.S. A unique feature of the fund is that it would recoup 15-20 percent of the appreciated value of the land.

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Masisa Sells Forestland to Hancock for $203 Million

Masisa Sells Forestland to Hancock for $203 Million | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Masisa SA has reached an agreement to sell 62,000 hectares of its Chilean forestland to US Hancock Natural Resource Group for $203.6 million. News sources report the transaction is expected to be completed within the next two months.


A new company, NewCo, is being formed as part of the deal, with Hancock receiving 80 percent of the shares and Masisa the remaining 20 percent. "NewCo and Masisa signed a long-term contract for the supply of the raw materials for the board plants of Masisa in Chile," the company stated in IHB.de.


The forestland is located in the Chilean regions of Vadivia and Temuco. Almost half of the timber is radiata pine.


"This agreement will allow us to fund our growth plan for the years 2014 and 2015, strengthen our financial profile and add a partner with a global expertise in investment and management of forest assets, which means an important contribution to the strategy Masisa comprehensive development," Masisa CEO Roberto Salas stated in Latercera.com.

A producer of particleboard and fiberboard for use in furniture and cabinetry, Masisa owns and operates composite panel plants in Latin America, including Mexico.

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Elliot Forest could bring $40 Million for schools

Elliot Forest could bring $40 Million for schools | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

A new report released shows that if the Oregon State Land Board sold or leased the 93,000-acre Elliott State Forest, public school funding would increase by at least $40 million annually.


Roughly 85,000 acres of the Elliott State Forest are managed for the primary purpose of raising funds for public schools. These lands are known as “Common School Trust Lands,” and the Oregon State Land Board is required by law to manage them for the trust beneficiaries: public school students. Net receipts from timber harvest activities on the Elliott are transferred to the Common School Fund (CSF), where assets are invested by the Oregon Investment Council in various financial instruments. Twice each year, public school districts receive cash payments based on the investment returns of CSF assets.


Due to environmental litigation, the State Land Board lost $3 million managing the Elliott State Forest in 2013. As a result, the Land Board has recently decided to sell 2,700 acres of the Elliott. An independent analysis conducted for Cascade Policy Institute by economist Eric Fruits shows that selling or leasing the entire forest would dramatically increase the semi-annual returns to public schools, and would do so in perpetuity.


According to Cascade president John A. Charles, Jr., “The Land Board has a fiduciary duty to manage the state trust lands for the benefit of the public schools. Losing $3 million on a timberland asset worth at least $600 million is likely a breach of that duty. The Land Board is doing the right thing by taking bids to sell parcels of the Elliott, and should continue to pursue a path of selling or leasing larger portions of the forest. There is no plausible scenario of Land Board timber management that would bring superior returns to public schools than simply disposing of these lands and placing the funds under the management of the Oregon Investment Council.

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The Next Big Thing You Missed: How We Can Manufacture Forests Like Toyota Makes Cars

The Next Big Thing You Missed: How We Can Manufacture Forests Like Toyota Makes Cars | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

For a young industrial engineer, Shubhendu Sharma couldn’t have landed a gig much sweeter than Toyota. As the originator of “just-in-time production,” Toyota pioneered the lean manufacturing movement that helped make it a dominant global automaker. But when a venerable Japanese forestry expert visited the company’s Bangalore factory to plant some greenery, Sharma was captivated by the idea of engineering a new kind of efficiency.


He wondered if Toyota’s wildly successful strategy for quickly and efficiently making cars could be applied to growing trees. The result is a startup called Afforestt.
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By repurposing the basic model behind Toyota’s car-making process, Sharma believes he has developed a system that can compress the process of reforestation into one-tenth of the time nature would take on its own. “We needed to standardize the process of forest-making,” he explains. “Today, we can make a forest for as low as the cost of an iPhone.”


Akira Miyawaki, the forester who inspired Sharma, is an expert in regenerating native habitats on land wrecked by industrialization. His approach involves densely planting dozens of native species to encourage a full-blown ecosystem to quickly take root. Sharama’s goal with Afforestt, which he founded in 2011, is to adapt Miyawaki’s approach for ready use anywhere in the world. In the unavoidable jargon of the startup world, he wants to create a platform for forest-making.
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Afforestt is a for-profit company that has worked with corporate and government clients on reforestation projects. Its broader goal, Sharma said during a recent talk at the TED ideas conference in Vancouver, is to open-source the approach to create a one-click system. Part of that effort involves creating a database that would give anyone in the world what amounts to a shopping list of native plants they need to seed a new forest. Internet-connected soil probes also could let Afforestt monitor forest growth from afar and help would-be urban foresters anywhere on their progress.

Sam Radcliffe's insight:

If you can "make a forest for the cost of an iPhone" then I guess we have to define what you mean by "forest".

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Seven bidders for failed Gunns assets

Seven bidders for failed Gunns assets | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

BIDS will begin to trickle in today and tomorrow for bankrupt Tasmanian timber company Gunns.


There are seven final bidders for Gunns assets, according to sources familiar with the sale process, including sovereign wealth funds, US timber investment management organisations and pension funds.
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Most of the bids for Gunns will have conditions attached and it could be between one to three months before a final sales agreement is signed. Four of the seven final bidders of Gunns just want the bankrupt Tasmanian company’s timber and land. Two of the final bidders want to buy the land, plantations and the pulp mill license. One bidder just wishes to purchase the pulp mill license.


Gunns assets include 175,680 gross hectares of freehold land incorporating 96,850 hectares of hardwood eucalyptus and 3,780 hectares of softwood pinus radiata. A license to build a pulp mill on a 650-hectare site with access to a seaport is included in the Gunns sale. A forestry service business that includes woodchip mills and a nursery are also for sale. The winning bid will be the bidder offering the highest price for the Gunns asset or assets.


As much as 70 per cent of the proceeds of the sale will go to hedge fund Anchorage Capital Group, which bought Gunns debt for between 40c and 45c in the dollar from a group of banks, including ANZ. Gunns’ secured lenders were owed $445.7 million, according to PPB Advisory in February 2013.

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New markets for timber benefit industry

New markets for timber benefit industry | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Trees have grown in what is Mississippi for countless eons, but changes in how they’re grown, how they’re processed and what they’re used for have changed the landscape in the state over the past half-century or so.

In 2006, just before timber prices dropped with the decline in housing starts, forest products had reached a high point, contributing $17.4 billion and 123,659 direct and indirect jobs to the state’s economy, according to Mississippi State University research.
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One of the first big advances was the advent of the Counce, Tenn., paper mill, followed by another massive mill in Courtland, Ala. Pulpwood to supply the paper mills gave growers a new market for small trees, especially pines.


Landowners benefited doubly from cash payments for the pulpwood harvest itself and from the faster growth from trees that remained after thinning harvests, eventually boosting yields of trees for higher-priced products such as lumber, plywood or poles.


The pulp market, however, is a big question mark in today’s wood products industry.


“In the U.S., we have a declining pulp/paper sector partly because of cost of labor and also because of regulatory compliance,” Henderson said. “That’s a substantial cost. A lot of major paper companies U.S.-based companies close mills in the U.S. and open them in Asia, where they don’t have those compliance costs.”


The International Paper plant in Courtland, Ala., is a casualty of that pressure. Formerly a major market for the region’s pulpwood, it began cutting production last year and is now closed.


The U.S. housing market over several decades drove domestic demand for lumber and other tree products, making timber a more attractive crop for marginal farmland and justified more intensive management.
“Our forest products industry in the South is tied to the U.S. residential construction market,” Henderson said.
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New products and technologies have provided new markets for timber products, too, in the past 50 years. Oriented strand board, a cheaper plywood substitute often used in subfloors, roof sheathing and even furniture, uses trees that are too crooked and knotty for traditional plywood or lumber.


“Chip-and-saw” technology allows harvesters to extract more valuable two-by-fours from the hearts of small trees while utilizing the rest for OSB. The rayon favored by many Asian garment manufacturers is made with dissolved pulp, another recent advance in wood-products exporting.

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Scientists sequence a genome seven times bigger than yours

Scientists sequence a genome seven times bigger than yours | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

After fitting 16 billion separate fragments together, scientists have finally managed to sequence the genome of the loblolly pine tree, the largest ever genome sequenced so far.

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The scientists, who published their papers in GENETICS and the journal Genome Biology, used DNA extracted from a single haploid seed of a Loblolly pine tree.


To obtain the DNA, the scientists first had to remove the embryo from the seed, says Indiana University's Keithanne Mockaitis, an author on the paper. What remains is then a haploid, whose cells have just one set of chromosomes.


Using next-generation sequencing technology, researchers obtained billions of shorter sequence of bases. The challenge now was to sift through the data, identify the overlapping sequences, and assemble them together – a computational puzzle called "genome assembly."

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The loblolly will serve as a good "reference" genome because "the size of the pieces of consecutive sequence that we assembled are orders of magnitude larger than what's been previously published," said Dr. Neale.

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"In addition to its value as a resource for researchers and breeders, the loblolly pine genome sequence and assembly reported here demonstrates a novel approach to sequencing the large and complex genomes of this important group of plants that can now be widely applied, " say researchers.

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Catchmark Provides Detail on Panola/Waycross Acquisition

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Idaho sues Potlatch over deadly wildfire

Idaho sues Potlatch over deadly wildfire | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Idaho officials have filed a lawsuit against a timber company and its contractor contending they're responsible for a wildfire that killed a 20-year-old Forest Service firefighter and burned more than 300 acres in northern Idaho.


The Lewiston Tribune reports the state filed the lawsuit Monday in 2nd District Court seeking an unspecified amount in monetary damages for costs in fighting the fire.


Anne Veseth of Moscow died Aug. 12, 2012, after being struck and killed by a falling tree while fighting the Steep Corner Fire near Orofino.


The lawsuit names Potlatch Land and Lumber, Potlatch Forest Holdings, Clearwater Paper Corp., Potlatch Corp., and DABCO Inc., a Kamiah-based logging contractor.


Idaho officials contend a logging crew started the fire using equipment that didn't meet Forest Service standards required by law.

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AFM Re-Offers 45,000 Acres in KY/TN

Sam Radcliffe's insight:

The TKY Property was presented to the market for sale in 2013 as a two-stage bid sale process.  The sale was placed on hold and did not advance to the second stage.  Upon further review, the owners have decided to continue the process and place the property back on the market as a single stage bid sale event.

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Students Rally Against Harvard's Management of Timber Plantations in Argentina

Students Rally Against Harvard's Management of Timber Plantations in Argentina | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

The Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition held a rally Friday afternoon on the steps of Widener Library and Massachusetts Hall to protest the University’s management of timber plantations it owns in Argentina. The rally comes after much debate over the plantations, including allegations of mismanagement in the fall and the announcement of the recertification of the plantations last week.


Throughout the afternoon, students and community members chanted, marched, and held signs, which read “Harvard be transparent,” “Faust: no more land grabs,” and “We’re yelling timber, you better move.”

After several members of the Harvard community, including the Undergraduate Council President and a Harvard alumnus working on the City Council, spoke to the protesters gathered in front of Widener, the group marched to Massachusetts Hall, which houses the University’s central administration and President Drew G. Faust’s office. A delegation from the group entered Massachusetts Hall with a petition containing 1,150 signatures, formally asking Faust to change the University’s management of its plantations.


The protests were a part of Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition’s week-long SHAME Tour, which seeks to “stop Harvard’s Argentine mismanagement and exploitation,” according to the organization’s website. As part of the demonstration, the coalition flew two leaders from local communities in Argentina, Adrian Obregon and Emilio Spataro, 4,884 miles to Harvard’s campus.

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A Giant Step for Pellet Capacity

A Giant Step for Pellet Capacity | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

More than 4 million metric tons of new wood pellet production capacity are currently under construction throughout North America, over 3 million tons of which are scheduled to come on line this year, and 600,000 tons by spring. Such capacity growth is unprecedented in the North American pellet industry, which is comprised of some 160 facilities, with a total installed capacity of around 13 million metric tons. Not only will the capacity added this year grow the industry’s output  by nearly 25 percent in just one year, but facilities scheduled to come on line in 2015 will bring the two-year expansion closer to 33 percent.

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The vast majority of under-construction capacity is represented by producers already engaged in pellet production. ––Fram Renewable Fuel LLC, Enviva LP, German Pellets GmbH, Drax Biomass, and Zilkha Biomass Energy––developers who are engaging in follow-up efforts to add to their existing capacities. Still, there are plants under construction that represent a company’s first production effort. Vulcan Renewables, with an initial planned capacity of nearly 150,000 metric tons, is Vulcan’s first facility. 

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The funnel of pellet production projects under development but not yet under active construction numbered as high as 27 facilities with more than 7 million tons early last year. As the industry continues to grow, however, questions about the resiliency of this marketplace momentum are beginning to surface. The required volume from U.K.-based power producers is significant, but the risk of having demand tied up in one or two planned facilities is already apparent. In December, the conversion of the massive Eggborough Power Station, which would have created another infusion of Drax-like demand, was omitted from a list of projects deemed provisionally affordable. Stakeholders are already working to get the Eggborough conversion back on track, but demand volatility of this sort is certain to impact the development of projects not yet underway. Eggborough’s fate will have little bearing on the production class of 2014, however, and regardless of demand trajectory at the year’s conclusion, it will go down as a year of unprecedented expansion in the biomass industry’s hottest sector.

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Noble Updates Shareholders on Sale of Surface and Timber Rights of Block A of Project 81

Noble Updates Shareholders on Sale of Surface and Timber Rights of Block A of Project 81 | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Noble Mineral Exploration Inc. today provided an update regarding recent developments relating to its proposed sale of the surface rights (including the timber rights) to Block A of its Project 81 property...
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At the April 17, 2014 adjourned meeting, shareholders will be asked to consider and, if deemed advisable, pass a special resolution approving the sale of the Property.
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The Property has an area of approximately 145,000 acres, or 58,000 hectares, and is located in the Timmins area of northern Ontario. Pursuant to a restated agreement of purchase and sale dated as of January 28, 2014 entered into by the Company and Resource Land Holdings, LLC (the "Purchaser")... the Purchaser has agreed to buy the surface rights and timber rights to the Property, including any sand, gravel (including hard rock aggregate), peat, gas or oil located on or under the Property, as well as a 5% net profits interest in the mineral rights on the Property which can be repurchased by the Company at a cost of $800,000 per 1% interest.


The purchase price to be paid by the Purchaser in this transaction is $6,800,000, and the Company will also be granted a 50% net royalty on revenue generated from any carbon credit business relating to the Property.
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Resolute FP Canada Inc. has signed an agreement (as extended) with the Company pursuant to which the timber-related right of first refusal that is registered against Block A and Block B of Project 81 would be terminated for a payment of $1,000,000. That agreement expires on May 15, 2014.

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FSC Recertification of Harvard's Argentine Timberlands Doesn't Satisfy Activists

FSC Recertification of Harvard's Argentine Timberlands Doesn't Satisfy Activists | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Two Harvard-owned timberland plantations in Argentina that have attracted allegations of environmental and communal degradation have been reaffirmed with Forest Stewardship Council certification, which requires that the properties adhere to a comprehensive set of international principles regarding environmental, economic, and social impact.


The independent third-party Rainforest Alliance accredited the plantations, EVASA and Las Misiones, located in northern Argentina, on behalf of FSC.


The news comes as the Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition, which co-authored a report criticizing the University’s timberland management practices in the region, hosts two Argentinian organizers to raise awareness of the issue on campus. On Sunday, those organizers called into question the rigor of the FSC certification and lodged additional complaints against Harvard Management Company.

“We've known that the plantations have technically been certified,” Blake A. McGhghy ’17, a student leader of Responsible Investment, said. “This is not new news. But it also does not change our campaign.”


Members of the student activist organization said that the FSC certification, which is voluntarily sought by an organization, is not sufficient in determining whether basic human rights and environmental practices are upheld. The certification audit also raised several new points of non-compliance, which must be remedied by at least the next year or HMC will lose its certification.

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Mass PRIM looks to property joint ventures

Mass PRIM looks to property joint ventures | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board is considering direct real estate joint ventures for the first time.

In a board meeting document, Mass PRIM said direct joint ventures are being considered as a future strategy. The pension plan would focus on unleveraged investments in the US with strong operating partners.

Sam Radcliffe's insight:

This article is slanted toward commercial real estate but Mass PRIM is one of the largest institutional investors in timberland. A timber JV could make a lot of sense.

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Feds suspect wetlands illegally drained at NCSU's Hofmann Forest

Feds suspect wetlands illegally drained at NCSU's Hofmann Forest | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Two federal agencies are investigating whether the managers of N.C. State University’s massive Hofmann Forest violated the Clean Water Act by illegally draining wetlands.


An N.C. State University foundation is in the midst of selling the 79,000-acre forest to a company headed by a large-scale farmer from the Midwest. A small group of foresters and environmentalists is fighting the $150 million deal in court.


Regulators from the Army Corps of Engineers visited the forest in January to check the ditches there after the N.C. Coastal Federation asked the Corps about the history of several thousand acres of cleared land in the forest. The regulators found extensive draining by ditches. Mickey Sugg, a regulator with the Corps’ Wilmington office, said in an interview this week that at least some of the drainage work appeared to be illegal.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also is involved in the investigation, and it will determine whether the ditching falls within anexemption in the Clean Water Act that allows some drainage improvements for tree farming, Sugg said.

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Timberland Investment Resources Certify Over 600,000 Acres to SFI Standard

Timberland Investment Resources Certify Over 600,000 Acres to SFI Standard | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Today, over 600,000 acres of timberland managed by Timberland Investment Resources, LLC (TIR) have been certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) standard.  TIR's investment footprint spans 14 states, with a significant presence in the southeastern U.S.  Their certification builds on the SFI Forest Partners® Program's previous successes in South Carolina and Florida, as well as the ongoing work with a wide range of medium-sized private and public landowners, and manufacturing facilities.  These certified lands, in addition to the over 500,000 acres recently announced by the St. Joe Company, put the SFI Forest Partners Program well on the road to achieving its 2014 milestone of certifying 5 million acres of forestland to the SFI standard.

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Buyer Exercises Option on $9 Million CatchMark Land Sale

Buyer Exercises Option on $9 Million CatchMark Land Sale | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

CatchMark Timber Trust, Inc.  announced today that a prospective buyer has exercised its option to purchase approximately 3,000 acres of CatchMark land holdings in Georgia for approximately $9 million under an existing option agreement with the company. The transaction is expected to be completed during the fourth quarter of 2014, subject to customary closing conditions.  Under terms of the agreement with the buyer, no other details were announced.


Jerry Barag, President and CEO of CatchMark, said: "This pending transaction is in keeping with our previous guidance for completing $8 million to $10 million in land sales during 2014. We continue to assess opportunistic dispositions across our portfolio with a view toward maximizing the value of our land base and taking advantage of higher-and-better use land sale opportunities where available."   

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Tasmania: Logging on

Tasmania: Logging on | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

MOST people believed the island state of Tasmania had at last found peace after a 30-year war between environmentalists and loggers. Both sides signed a deal two years ago that gave everyone something: secure supplies for timber companies and protection for native forests.

Now, though, Tony Abbott, Australia’s prime minister, has reignited the war. Australia, he says, has too much “locked-up forest”. Mr Abbott wants to open up a swathe of Australia’s most fought-over forest and hand it to loggers. His government has asked UNESCO to remove 74,000 hectares (183,000 acres) from the World Heritage-listed wilderness region that covers about a fifth of Tasmania.
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Forests cover half of Tasmania: in Australia as a whole it is less than a quarter. Battles over access to the land harmed the logging industry. Fearing that supplies would be disrupted, customers in Asia had started looking elsewhere for their timber. For this reason alone, many loggers welcomed the calm that came with the peace as much as greens did. Ta Ann, a Malaysian-based outfit that turns eucalyptus logs into veneer, says it was ready to quit Tasmania, but the peace deal persuaded it to stay.
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Questions remain about Mr Abbott’s reasons for stripping 74,000 hectares from World Heritage listing. He suggests the entire area had already been logged, “degraded” or planted with timber to be logged. The Wilderness Society, one of the environmental groups that signed the deal, calculates that just 10% of the area had in fact been logged; about 40% was “old-growth” forest, barely disturbed before; and much of the rest was natural vegetation.


At 7.6% Tasmania’s unemployment rate is Australia’s highest (compared with 6% nationally). Mr Abbott blames “Green ideology” for many of the island’s woes, even for Australia’s lowest life expectancy. He wants a “renaissance” of forestry in Tasmania. The industry employs around 4,000 people, about 2,000 fewer than six years ago. The Australia Institute, a think-tank, reckons that Tasmania’s industry can survive only with government subsidies. Delisting World Heritage regions, it argues, will create hardly any jobs. The World Heritage Committee is due to rule on the Abbott government’s request in June.

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Vermont: Developers, administration chop down forest fragmentation bill

Vermont: Developers, administration chop down forest fragmentation bill | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

A proposal to limit forest fragmentation was thwarted by developers who oppose using the state’s land use and development laws as a tool to keep woodlands intact, according to the lead sponsor of the bill that was gutted on the Senate floor Wednesday.


“There are developers in a certain corner of the state that are very concerned that nothing gets in the way of their planned development,” said Sen. Peter Galbraith, D-Windham.


The Senate scaled back a bill Wednesday to use the state’s Act 250 permitting process to prevent forest fragmentation after the Shumlin administration called for a study on how to preserve the state’s forests in harmony with the forest products industry and future development.

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New Forests in pole position for Forest Enterprises Australia race

New Forests in pole position for Forest Enterprises Australia race | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

NEW Forests' successful raising of $707 million for a second fund adds weight to suggestions it could be competing strongly to buy Forest Enterprises Australia, which is on the market through advisory firm Gresham, and potentially the Gunns portfolio.


New Forests has previously been named by sources as among the five groups in the contest to buy FEA.


The other four are international contenders, including US-based Campbell Group, GMO Renewable Resources, Global Forest Partners and Resource Management.


FEA was put on the market in December through Gresham and Deloitte, shortly after timber company Gunns came up for sale.

The sales price for the forestry business could be anywhere between $200m and $400m, sources said.


Initial bids closed last month for the 97,900ha of mature hardwood forests and 46,000ha of land in NSW, Queensland and Tasmania.

It is thought that the players competing to buy FEA would have also thrown their hat in the ring to buy the $400m-odd portfolio of Gunns forestry assets, which are being sold through investment bank Moelis and Korda Mentha.


New Forests would not comment on its interest in either of the offerings.

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