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Pope sells conservation easement on 3,000 acres of forest near Mount St. Helens

Pope sells conservation easement on 3,000 acres of forest near Mount St. Helens | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
Columbia Land Trust on Monday announced the conservation of more than 3,000 acres of forestland near Mount St. Helens, the latest phase in an ongoing effort by the organization to prevent development in the area.

The Vancouver-based nonprofit purchased development rights on the land, which will remain under the ownership of timber company Pope Resources. It will also remain in active forestry and produce tax-generating timber harvests, according to the land trust.

"This landmark project shows what can be achieved when a timber company, a conservation group and public leaders put their heads together to find lasting conservation solutions that benefit both people and nature," Columbia Land Trust Executive Director Glenn Lamb said in a released statement.

The $1.1 million deal is part of the Mount St. Helens Forest Conservation project, which aims to protect more than 20,000 acres of land near Swift Reservoir in Skamania County from development. The land trust secured nearly 6,900 acres south of the reservoir through a conservation easement in 2010. The organization acquired another 2,300 acres in the outright purchase of a second parcel along the east side of Pine Creek in 2013. This agreement added 3,087 acres mostly through an easement, though the land trust also purchased 210 acres along the west bank of Pine Creek, protecting critical habitat for endangered bull trout and other wildlife, according to the organization. The deal was funded by a grant from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program.
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Roughly $400 per acre 

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Pope Resources: Why I'm Bullish On This Timber Play

Pope Resources: Why I'm Bullish On This Timber Play | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

When it comes to the timber sector, many investors tend to think about some of the bigger names in the sector such as Weyerhaeuser (WY ) and Plum Creek Timber (PCL ), rather than some of the smaller names such as Pope Resources (POPE ).


With that being said, I actually wanted to shift my focus toward Pope Resources, LP and not only highlight the company but a number of reasons why I've chosen to stay bullish on this smaller-cap timber play that currently yields 3.28% and pays an annualized distribution of $2.20/share.


Founded in 1985 and headquartered in Poulsbo, Washington, Pope Resources, LP is a Delaware Limited Partnership engaged in management of timber resources here in the United States. It operates in three different segments that consist of its Fee Timber unit, its Timberland Management & Consulting unit, and its Real Estate unit.
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#1: Recent Performance & Trend Behavior Signals A Buying Mode For Long-Term Investors

On Tuesday, shares of POPE, which currently possess a market cap of $292.86 million, a P/E ratio of 33.50, and a distribution yield of 3.28% ($2.20), settled at a price of $67.00/share. Based on their closing price of $67.00/share, shares of POPE are trading 0.57% above their 20-day simple moving average, 0.32% above their 50-day simple moving average and 2.30% above their 200-day simple moving average. These numbers indicate a short-term, mid-term, and long-term uptrend for the stock, which generally signals a moderate buying mode for most long-term investors.


#2: 5-Year Dividend Behavior

Since December 1, 2009, the company has increased its quarterly distribution four times in the last five years, with the most recent increase having taken place in May of this year. The company's forward yield of 3.28% ($2.20) coupled with its ability to maintain its quarterly distribution over last five years, make this particular timber play a highly considerable option, especially for those who may be in the market for a sustainable stream of quarterly income.


#3: Comparative Dividend Behavior

Not only does the company's 3.28% distribution yield and 5-year distribution growth make this particular stock a highly attractive option for most income-driven investors, its distribution growth over the last five years versus one of its sector-based peers is also something investors should consider. From a comparable standpoint, Pope Resources distribution has grown an impressive 450% over the past five years, whereas the distribution growth of its sector-based peer Plum Creek Timber has only grown a mere 4.76%.


A Few Risks to Consider

According to Pope Resource's most recent 10-K there are a number of risk factors investors should consider before establishing a position in this particular timber play. These risk factors include but are not limited to:

#1 - The consolidation of sawmills within the partnership's geographic operating area may reduce competition among its customers, which could have an adverse effect on the company's log prices.

#2 - The partnership is sensitive to the cyclicality of demand and price issues relating to its sales of logs in both domestic and foreign markets.

#3 - Pope Resources competes with a number of larger competitors such as Weyerhaeuser and Plum Creek Timber which may be better suited to absorb volatile price fluctuations. They may also be better equipped to expend their resources on such things as production, and as a result may have greater access to much needed capital if a situation arose in which greater capital was needed.

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The writer of theis piece is Heather Ingrassia: "I'm A 28 Year-Old Stay-At Home Mom, Who Enjoys Writing About And Establishing Income-Driven Strategies Within Numerous Sectors. My Fiancee And I Are Planning To Get Married In January 2015 And I Currently Reside In The Greater New York Area."

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Deadline nears for option on Pope land in Washington

Deadline nears for option on Pope land in Washington | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Sixty-three days. That’s how much time the Kitsap Forest & Bay Coalition has left in its option agreement to purchase up to 7,000 acres of North Kitsap timberland and shoreline from Pope Resources.


Jon Rose, president of Pope Resources’ Olympic Property Group, said he doesn’t think the coalition will raise enough money by the March 28 deadline to buy all of Pope’s North Kitsap land. But transactions are likely as the coalition and Pope consider a complex package of price offsets and funds from a variety of sources.


Pope Resources agreed in fall 2011 to keep the land off the market while the coalition raises money to purchase the land for conservation, public open space, trails and non-motorized access to the water.


The agreement expires March 28. After that, Pope Resources officials have said they plan to sell the unpurchased acreage, which is zoned rural wooded, or one home per 20-acre lot. Pope will then turn its attention to developing Port Gamble.

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An appraisal for the 7,000 acres has been completed and the appraised value accepted by Forterra and Pope; Johnston would not disclose the appraisal, saying it’s “proprietary information.”

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Pope Resources Closes $180 Million Timber Fund

Pope Resources Closes $180 Million Timber Fund | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Pope Resources announced today that its subsidiary, Olympic Resource Management LLC (ORMLLC), has closed ORM Timber Fund III, a private equity timber fund with $180 million of committed capital, $9 million of which will be co-invested by Pope Resources. ORMLLC is actively looking for timberland properties to acquire on behalf of the fund, which will invest in commercial timberlands in the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S.

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Pope Resources Announces 29% Increase In Quarterly Distribution

Pope Resources Announces 29% Increase In Quarterly Distribution | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Pope Resources (NASDAQ: POPE) announced today a quarterly distribution of $0.45 per unit, effective for unitholders of record on June 15, 2012 and payable on June 29, 2012. This represents a $0.10, or 29%, increase from the prior quarterly distribution of $0.35 per unit. "We are pleased to announce this increase in our distribution payout, which recognizes confidence in our cash flow generating capabilities and the continued improvement in all of our markets," said David L. Nunes, President and CEO.

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Pope Resources CEO Nunes quits to run Rayonier

Pope Resources CEO Nunes quits to run Rayonier | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

David Nunes, CEO of Poulsbo timberland management company Pope Resources, is quitting to become CEO of forest products company Rayonier Inc.


Pope Resources said current CFO Thomas Ringo, who has been at the company for 25 years, will serve as interim CEO.


"Dave has positioned us well to continue growing, and we have already begun a search for the right person to replace him," said Pope Resources lead director Douglas Norberg, in a statement.


Pope Resources (NASDAQ: POPE) owns or manages 204,000 acres of timberland and development property in Washington, Oregon, and California.

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Pope Resources Announces $5.7 Million Conservation Sale

Pope Resources Announces $5.7 Million Conservation Sale | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Pope Resources (Nasdaq: POPE) announced a $5.7 million conservation sale to Columbia Land Trust of 2,330 acres on the southern flanks of Mount St. Helens. he sale conserves approximately nine miles of sensitive Pine Creek riparian habitat and adjacent forestlands. Pine Creek is a prime habitat for bull trout, a threatened species listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.

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This parcel, adjacent to Pine Creek, is part of a much larger Mount St. Helens Forest Conservation Project that is spearheaded by Columbia Land Trust and aims to protect from development 20,000 acres of working forest and critical wildlife habitat around the Swift Reservoir on the Lewis River.  The first of four parcels in the Mount St. Helens Forest Conservation Project was conserved in 2010.  With a Forest Legacy grant procured by Columbia Land Trust, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources was able to buy a conservation easement from Pope Resources in 2010 that permanently protects 6,886 acres of forestlands south of the reservoir from development.  Since the Pope Resources property is one of the county's largest private holdings, project proponents have worked to insure all conserved lands remain on the county tax rolls.


"We are pleased to see the second phase of this innovative project move forward, and we are very optimistic about another state grant that will help us conserve an additional 3,074 acres under a conservation easement," said Jon Rose, president of Olympic Property Group, Pope Resources' real estate subsidiary.

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Update On The Timber REITs Plus One

Update On The Timber REITs Plus One | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

As of August 31 2012, the S&P 500 total return was up about 14.1% year to date. This includes 12.5% in capital gains and 1.6% in dividends. This was calculated using the SPDR S&P 500 ETF. The tREITs, on an un-weighted composite basis, are up 20.2%. This includes a 17.3% capital gain and a 2.9% dividend.

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Pope Resources: A Diamond In The Rough

Pope Resources: A Diamond In The Rough | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

POPE is as close as you can get to a pure timber play without owning timberland outright. Most timber REITs also own some manufacturing capabilities. POPE's lands are located in the Pacific Northwest with no exposure to other timber growing regions of the country. This is not bad, however, since the PNW has some of the most valuable timberlands in the country, and access to the Asian export log market. The fee timberlands consist of about 114,000 acres in western Washington.

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All in all POPE is a very well run company with quality assets and talented managers. POPE has one major flaw, their size. POPE has a market cap of about $200 million and is very narrowly traded.

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Pope Resources Reports First Quarter Income of $1.2 Million

Pope Resources Reports First Quarter Income of $1.2 Million | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

"In the face of weaker log export demand from China, we significantly reduced our harvest volume in the first quarter of 2012," said David L. Nunes, President and CEO. "With stronger log export demand from China last year, we aggressively front-loaded our planned harvest in 2011, but were much more restrained in our log production in the first quarter of 2012. The combination of continued weakness in domestic housing starts and softer log export demand resulted in a decision to concentrate more of our planned 2012 harvest volume later in the year."

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Our Timberland Management & Consulting (TM&C) segment generates revenue through the management of three private equity timber funds, which are consolidated into the Partnership's financial statements due to the Partnership's role as general partner or managing member of the Funds. Consolidating these Funds into the Partnership's financial statements results in the elimination of all management fees earned by the Partnership, with a corresponding decrease in the Funds' operating expenses as recorded in the Fee Timber segment. The first two Funds collectively acquired 61,000 acres of commercial timberlands between 2006 and 2010 for total consideration of $150 million. Our third Fund, with a target size of $100 million, had its first close in the fourth quarter of 2011 with commitments of $51 million. We expect the final close for this Fund by mid-2012.

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