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Trump touts timber industry, has protester removed from Oregon rally

Trump touts timber industry, has protester removed from Oregon rally | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
Donald Trump made it clear in his Eugene rally Friday night that he was reaching out to Republicans in rural Oregon, parts of which are struggling economically.

“Timber is a crucial industry” in parts of Oregon but “it is being hammered by federal regulations,” he told his cheering supporters.
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Private equity's choice: Obama or Romney

Private equity's choice: Obama or Romney | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

In 36 hours or so, we should know if America has elected its first-ever private equity president. Or if it's reelected the guy who campaigned, in part, by criticizing some of private equity's more controversial practices.


Based on the rhetoric, it seems obvious that Mitt Romney should be the choice of private equity professionals who vote their business interests. But I'm not so sure that it's quite so clear-cut.
For starters, future private equity success will depend more on a vibrant economy than on any industry-specific policy. Not only because a rising tide lifts portfolio company financials (and, in turn, sale prices), but also because private equity relies on capital commitments from a wide swath of institutional investors (public pensions, college endowments, corporations, family offices, nonprofit foundations, etc.).


So if a private equity voter is convinced that Romney's economic policies are best for broad-based prosperity -- both in America and worldwide -- then he should be the pick. Same goes for Obama.
And before calling this a cop-out, two opposing pieces of data: Romney has raised far more money from private equity execs than has Obama, and also seems to have their ballot box support. At the same time, Cambridge Associates reports that private equity has generated 16.62% benchmark returns in the three years between June 30, 2009 and June 30, 2012. That's better than the private equity benchmark for any other time period that CA measures, and was based largely on a public equities market that has thrived under Obama's watch.


Again, not clear-cut. And macro economic prognostication is an educated guessing game, at best.

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Timber trade threatens Russia protest leader

Timber trade threatens Russia protest leader | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

The timber industry in the vast forests of Russia's Kirov region, far from prying eyes in Moscow, has long been easy prey for unscrupulous businessmen.


Locals say it is so murky that the country's most charismatic opposition leader Alexei Navalny will have a hard time fending off charges levied last week of stealing wood from a state company while advising the governor there in 2009.


Navalny says politics lie behind the case, which may also tarnish the governor, Nikita Belykh, a liberal whose appointment by then-President Dmitry Medvedev may grate with the more conservative previous and current Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin.

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Outside Kirov, a city of 500,000 named after a Bolshevik revolutionary whose assassination in 1934 was used by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin as a pretext to purge his opponents, the river winds into forests that stretch as far as the eye can see.


The region, which is bigger than Hungary, covers 120,000 square km and almost two thirds is state-owned forests.


"We have so much woodland that it's simply impossible to closely control it all. Somebody just starts chopping timber somewhere, takes it and that's it," said Vladimir Zhuravlyov, a member of the local parliament who works closely with Putin's ruling United Russia party.


"The forest in Kirov is like oil in the rest of Russia. It's stable and easy money, you just come in and take it. It's also quick money, you can make fortunes on it in no time at all."

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The Real Threat to Forests in the US South

The Real Threat to Forests in the US South | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

There was a time, not long ago, when the largest threat to forests in the United States was widely believed to come from the forest products industry. Vilified by environmental groups and the media alike, the forest products industry was at worst responsible for razing forests and endangering vulnerable species.

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Now, however, there is a new “bad” guy in town—the wood bioenergy industry. Recent reports suggest (though hardly prove) that wood bioenergy—particularly the US-South-to-EU pellet trade—is “wrecking some of the finest forests in the US.[1]” Most of the claims proffered in these reports lack both substance and evidence and defy both forest science and logic.

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If none of these assertions about the size and nature of the wood bioenergy industry are true, what is the real threat here, the thing we should really be worried about? Earlier, I pointed out that, at best, the industry is barely tolerated when it comes to discussions of forest health and sustainability. There are worse things than barely being tolerated though. A growing number of forces want the forest products industry to just go away, and they have the resources to relentlessly pursue that end.

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Right now, the bioenergy movement is the best vehicle eNGOs have for stopping harvest activity. The new wood bioenergy participants have softer views on sustainability, after all, so collaborating with environmental groups may seem to them like a good idea. After years of dealing with eNGOs, however, we should know better. These groups have adopted a divide-and-conquer strategy, and if they are successful in dividing the industry, then the implications beyond bioenergy are immense. The forest products industry may have slipped to Public Enemy #2 in the eyes of environmentalists during the fight over wood-based bioenergy, but make no mistake: once wood bioenergy is dead, these  groups will turn their attention (strengthened by the win) back to the pulp/paper and solid wood industries. In the meantime, they will enlist the support of the traditional forest products industry to fight the battle over bioenergy.

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As long as eNGOs succeed in dividing the industry, the result will be a weakened supply chain, one that cannot lead—but can only react—to the conversation. A divided industry is one that siphons value out of the supply chain.

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A Challenge to Obama and Romney: Chat With America About Natural Capital

A Challenge to Obama and Romney: Chat With America About Natural Capital | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

On Tuesday night, President Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney met at Hofstra University for their second debate of the 2012 election. Since climate change, the environmental elephant in the room, had escaped mention in the previous presidential and vice-presidential debates, I was confident that a fairly esoteric topic like ecosystem protection would get short shrift on stage in Hempstead. Sure enough, when Obama and Romney's question-and-answer exchange with the audience shifted to energy development, the two candidates delicately avoided substantive discussion of a subject that could have important ramifications for our domestic and foreign policy in future years: the conservation of natural capital.


The World Bank defines natural capital as the stock of renewable and non-renewable "gifts of nature" used for production. These gifts include mineral resources and timber, as well as other things like aquifers, wildlife, and wetlands. Until recently, many economists downplayed the importance of natural capital when accounting for societal wealth, and only factored it in when said capital could be chopped down, hacked out of the ground, or harvested from the land or water for sale, in which case it could be grouped under gross domestic product (GDP). However, the past four decades have witnessed a change in how these endowments are valued, with policymakers and their advisers slowly realizing that traditional metrics like GDP failed to account for the services rendered by ecosystems, services that we often benefit from without market transactions taking place.

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