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Board to take up forest easements as program is in doubt

Board to take up forest easements as program is in doubt | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

The second phase of a deal that creates the largest land conservation purchase in Wisconsin history goes before the Natural Resources Board next week at a time when the program's future is in jeopardy.

The Department of Natural Resources is proceeding with plans in northwest Wisconsin to buy a conservation easement on 21,189 acres for $5.6 million.

The measure comes as Gov. Scott Walker is proposing to freeze spending for such land purchases because of rising debt costs.

The DNR said the latest transaction would not be affected because funding comes in the current fiscal year and Walker's proposals would not take effect until July 1, the start of the state's new fiscal year.
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If the latest deal is approved at a meeting in Madison on Feb. 25, the DNR will have paid a total of $16.9 million for conservation easements on 65,867 acres in Douglas County. The easements will protect the property from development, ensuring it remains open for public use in perpetuity.

The first phase of the deal occurred in May 2012, when the DNR struck an agreement with the Lyme Timber Co. of Hanover, N.H., using funds from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund.

Lyme Timber, a timberland investment management organization, will continue to own the land and manage it for timber production.

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Lyme says damage estimates from large Douglas County forest fire will top $1 million

Lyme says damage estimates from large Douglas County forest fire will top $1 million | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

A fire that damaged a 10-mile swath of forest land in northwestern Wisconsin this spring caused at least $1 million in damage, according to the timber company that owns most of the affected land.


The massive blaze in Douglas County damaged most of the 5,200 acres owned by Lyme St. Croix Timber Co., company executive Sean Ross said. In total it consumed about 7,400 acres, destroyed 17 homes and forced dozens of people to evacuate their homes, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported (http://bit.ly/17QPe3q).


Ross said the company is still trying to estimate the total costs, which he predicted would run into the millions. The estimate would include replanting costs, which usually run about $200 per acre, he said.

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The DNR said Monday the logging company was responsible for the fire and that employees withheld information about details after the fire broke out. The DNR charged the owner of the tree-cutting machine, Ray Duerr Logging, $600,000 for costs associated with the firefighting operation.


Duerr issued a statement Thursday disputing the DNR's statements about how workers responded to the wildfire. The Rib Lake-based company said it acted quickly to put out the fire, but there was no time to use a pressurized water system on the cutting machine before the fire flew into the treetops. Duerr also said neither the company nor its employees withheld any information about the pressurized water system.

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Lyme, EcoTrust make social investing list

Lyme, EcoTrust make social investing list | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

This annually updated list is a gateway into the world of impact investing for investors and their financial advisors, offering an easy way to identify experienced impact investment firms and explore potential investment options. The IA50 is intended to illustrate the breadth of impact investment fund managers operating today.


Happily, there are more than 50 top tier impact investment funds in the world -- which means not all are included in the IA 50. These 50 firms have been selected to demonstrate a wide range of impact investing activities across geographies, sectors and asset classes.


The IA 50 is not an index or an investable platform; rather, it is an information resource to begin research on the impact investing sector.

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Lyme airs plans for Schoodic property; biking, hiking trails, camping possible

Lyme airs plans for Schoodic property; biking, hiking trails, camping possible | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

A Hanover, N.H.-based company that purchased 3,200 acres of forestland on the Schoodic Peninsula last year to help conserve it from development is drafting a plan for how the property might be used.

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According to a prepared statement released by the company, an unidentified philanthropic family foundation has purchased an interest in the “critical” property to ensure it is conserved, that there is permanent public access to it, and to help plan what sort of improvements might be made. The family foundation wishes to remain anonymous, according to the statement.

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This week's featured TIMO: The Lyme Timber Company

This week's featured TIMO: The Lyme Timber Company | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
The Lyme Timber Company is a private timberland investment management organization (TIMO) that focuses on the acquisition and sustainable management of lands with unique conservation values.

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[Editor's note: our "Featured TIMO" series does not imply an endorsement of the subject organization. It is presented only to help educate readers about this corner of the Timberland Investment space.]

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New Hampshire timber company buys 3,200 acres next to Acadia

New Hampshire timber company buys 3,200 acres next to Acadia | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
WINTER HARBOR, Maine — Ending years of speculation about what might happen to a pristine chunk of forest land located next to Acadia National Park, a New Hampshire firm announced Tuesday that it is buying more than 3,000 acres of land on the...
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Conserving Landscapes and Ecosystems With Private Investment

Conserving Landscapes and Ecosystems With Private Investment | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Private investors are finding new opportunities to invest in large-scale conservation efforts intended to protect biodiversity and boost "ecosystem services" such as clean water, clean air and carbon storage.


Earlier this year, 50 leading practitioners of "conservation finance" came together for a two-day workshop hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco to discuss successful deals and innovative transactional structures. Participants sought to identify scalable and repeatable models that generate returns for investors. The workshop was intended to accelerate the emergence of an investor-driven approach to conservation.


The steering committee for the Conservation Finance Practitioners Workshop included representatives from Coady Diemar Partners, Equilibrium Capital, The Lyme Timber Company, and Credit Suisse.


Some of the highlights and takeaways:

"We're on the cusp of having the attention of institutional investors and that's good news," says Peter Stein of Lyme Timber. The representation at the workshop of Credit Suisse, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs signals growing client demand and deal-making opportunities and conservation finance product development is a major opportunity for Wall Street banks in 2014.
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"The constraint on our business model is the availability of public money" to pay for conservation easements, says Peter Stein. The same is true for New Market Tax Credits, says Bettina von Hagen of Ecotrust Forest Management. In contrast, regulatory frameworks for mitigation credits and offsets create a private-capital market without public funding. Developers seeking a more predictable permit process, "will pay for high-quality compensatory mitigation," says Adam Davis of Ecosystem Investment Partners.
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Workshop participants want to emphasize 'working lands,' not 'forever wild.' In the Brule-St. Croix Legacy Forest project, "Biodiversity couldn't be mentioned, conservation easements couldn't be mentioned," Peter Stein says. "We had to focus on rural economic development."
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Kyung-Ah Park sees the need for third-party credit rating if we are to bring in institutional investors looking for investment grade, plain-vanilla opportunities and suggests a clearinghouse of conservation finance projects in the pipeline could more efficiently match interested investors with opportunities. Dave Chen sees a need for a merchant banking function for raises of $200-400 million. Evan Smith of the Conservation Fund wants to explore ways conservation can monetize reduced government outlays, such as through better wildfire management. "Can we turn future avoided costs into something we can use now?"
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"Count those capital flows over time," recommends Jim Levitt of Harvard Forest. "It's boring, clerical and very important." A starting point could be an inventory of investable products, tagged by their position on the 'S' curve, suggests Logan Yonavjak, a Master of Forestry candidate at Yale University. Two good places to start are The Ecosystem Marketplace produced by Michael Jenkins and his team at Forest Trends and the Summary of Natural Infrastructure Finance Mechanisms by Todd Gartner and team at WRI.

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Lyme sells easement on 21,000 acres in Washington County, Maine

Lyme sells easement on 21,000 acres in Washington County, Maine | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

The land, 21,870 acres in and adjacent to the plantation of Grand Lake Stream, is east of West Grand Lake and northwest of Big Lake. It is the “ last big piece” of a decade-long effort by local and state officials, and by Downeast Lakes Land Trust, to protect more than 350,000 acres of undeveloped woods enveloping the lakes of northern Washington County, according to Mark Berry executive director of the land trust.


The land, owned by Lyme Timber Co. of Hanover, N.H., abuts 33,708 acres already owned by the land trust and includes 17 miles of shoreline on West Grand, Big and Lower Oxbrook lakes. It includes frontage on Big Musquash Stream and conserves a quarter-mile section of the west side of Grand Lake Stream above Big Falls, according to a prepared statement about the completed easement.

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Berry said the land trust has a three-year option to buy the land outright from Lyme Timber Co.

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Conservation leader Peter Stein Honored at Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Conservation leader Peter Stein Honored at Lincoln Institute of Land Policy | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Peter Stein, a leader in forests and rural lands conservation and managing director of Lyme Timber Co, was named the Kingsbury Browne Fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.


Stein, who previously was senior vice president at the Trust for Public Land, was also named the winner of the Kingsbury Browne Conservation Leadership Award by the Land Trust Alliance in recognition of outstanding leadership, innovation and creativity in land conservation.

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Stein has been providing leadership in the development and structuring of conservation-oriented forestland and rural land purchases and dispositions since joining Lyme Timber in 1990. He also manages the company's conservation advisory business. At the Trust for Public Land, he directed TPL's conservation real estate acquisitions in the Northeast and Midwest. He lectures extensively at graduate schools and professional conferences on conservation investment schemes and strategies...

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Wisconsin DNR offers Lyme $17.3 million easement

Wisconsin DNR offers Lyme $17.3 million easement | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has agreed to spend $17.3 million to protect more than 100 square miles of forest land in the northwest corner of the state, marking what will be the largest land-conservation deal...

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Wausau Paper lands buyers for timberlands

Wausau Paper lands buyers for timberlands | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
MOSINEE — Wausau Paper has entered into an agreement to sell its remaining timberland in northern Wisconsin for $42.9 million, the company said today.
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