Timberland Investment
107.8K views | +2 today
Follow
 
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
onto Timberland Investment
Scoop.it!

Liberty Street Advisors And Capital Innovations Launch Global Agri, Timber, Infrastructure Fund

Liberty Street Advisors And Capital Innovations Launch Global Agri, Timber, Infrastructure Fund | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Liberty Street Advisors, Inc. announced the launch of the Capital Innovations Global Agri, Timber and Infrastructure Fund ("the Fund") (INNAX, INNCX, INNNX), the second in its series of Funds focused on income production and inflation protection.

***

The new Capital Innovations Fund's investments focus primarily on global stocks in agribusiness, timber and infrastructure, where long-term demand for their products may exceed supply due to secular and demographic growth trends. These investments tend to seek strong yields overall, while also providing a potential hedge against the threat of inflation.

***

"Institutional investors have long experienced the potential benefits of exposures to real assets beyond the traditional 'hard commodities'. Global demand for agribusiness, timber and infrastructure have historically demonstrated the ability to provide institutions consistent yield backed by real cash flows along with the ability to thrive in inflationary environments," said Tim Reick, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Liberty Street Advisors. "Our goal in launching this fund was to provide investors the ability to include exposure to equities within these asset classes managed by an institutional manager dedicated to these specific sectors."

more...
No comment yet.
Timberland Investment
Timber Industry | Deals & Transactions | Investment Rationale | Financial Performance | Investors | Asset Managers
Curated by Sam Radcliffe
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
Scoop.it!

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.

 

We encourage readers to interact with our site:

  • Click on the Follow  button (upper left), and Scoop.it! will deliver a summary of our new content to your inbox every morning.
  • Click the Share button above or at an individual story to Tweet or post a link on Facebook.
  • Click the Suggest button above to propose content for inclusion in the magazine. If the story is accepted, you will be credited as the source with a link that can drive traffic to your own website, Facebook page, blog, etc.

 

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

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
Scoop.it!

Low energy prices force New England wood heat pioneers to pivot

Low energy prices force New England wood heat pioneers to pivot | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

It was May of 2014 and Charlie Niebling was feeling pretty good. As the wood buyer for New England Wood Pellets and a modern wood heat pioneer, he had reason to be optimistic. New England’s automated wood heat industry was finally beginning to hum.

 

For years, high energy prices were the driving force behind adoption of residential pellets stoves, spurring investment in wood pellet manufacturing and, concurrently, leading to the installation of hundreds of commercial wood-fired heating systems across Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
***
But by June of 2014, a dramatic slide in the price of fossil fuels would ultimately force Niebling and the region’s wood heat pioneers to rethink their strategy.

 

Energy savings — the longtime rationale of the wood heating industry — had begun to disappear. By 2017, the Energy Information Administration would declare that natural gas prices were the lowest in 20 years.
***
“How are we going to sell these ideas and sustain this industry when we can’t make an economic argument that says you’re going to save 50 percent on your heating bill by switching to wood heat?” Adams wondered. “That was the crisis point. What exactly are we promoting and what’s the promise we are making to consumers?”

 

To get to the bottom of these questions, Adams and other leaders began pulling people together. They wanted to understand how advocates talked about wood energy and what would resonate with new customers.

 

They quickly came to three realizations. First, the market was very weak and they needed to work together. Second, everyone used different words to describe the same thing. Third and most importantly, whether they were talking about biomass boilers, bio-energy, biomass thermal, modern wood heat or automated wood heat, most consumers had no idea what they meant.
***
As a result of these candid dialogues, advocates began to get on the same page and use the same words. Energy savings is still part of the conversation, but it has moved from a marquee role to a supporting cast member who might make a cameo.

 

Their messaging shifted the one-trick pony named Lower My Energy Bill to the back of the pack and picked up a stable that included Creating Local Jobs, Getting Off Oil, Keeping Energy Dollars Local and Supporting Working Forests.
***
It’s too soon to tell if this new strategy will bear fruit. The Northern Forest Center hopes to launch a new cohesive messaging campaign later this winter that will include shared resources to tell the story of modern wood-fired heat.
***
The value proposition for wood heat is not where Charlie Niebling would like it to be. But he is undeterred. His optimism rests on the importance of homegrown renewable energy to forests, sustainability and communities.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
Scoop.it!

Endowment Index® Gains 17.61% in 2017; Best Annual Performance Since 2009

Endowment Index® Gains 17.61% in 2017; Best Annual Performance Since 2009 | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

The Endowment Index® calculated by Nasdaq OMX® (Symbol: ENDOW) gained 17.6% (on a total return basis) for the year ended December 31, 2017. This compares to the S&P 500, which gained 21.8% for the same period. 

 

The Index began the year at 1,072.11 and never once dipped below that mark.  Consistent with the low-volatility environment that global markets experienced in 2017, the Index rose steadily, posting gains in each of the 4 quarters.  The Index's greatest retracement was just 1.64%, occurring during the first week of August.

 

Eighteen of the Index's nineteen components posted gains in 2017.  Natural resources-metals & mining (+37.1%), emerging markets equity (+36.8%), emerging markets equity-China (+31.8%), natural resources-timber (+29.8%), international real estate (+26.5%), and equity-international developed (+26.4) posted the strongest gains.  Managed futures (-3.2%) posted the only decline among Index constituents.

***

The Endowment index® represents the investable opportunity for managers of portfolios utilizing the Endowment Investment Philosophy® or who otherwise incorporate alternative investments within a comprehensive asset allocation. The Index provides an objective tool used for portfolio comparison, investment analysis, and research and benchmarking by fiduciaries, trustees, portfolio managers, consultants and advisers to endowments, foundations, trusts, defined benefit/contribution plans and individual investors.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
Scoop.it!

Oregon lawmakers to propose cap and trade bill

Oregon lawmakers to propose cap and trade bill | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
Will 2018 be the year Oregon legislators set a cap on carbon emissions? Some state lawmakers have been working out the details of a cap-and-trade program and expect to introduce a draft bill on January 8, one month before this year's session.

The aim is to reduce the carbon emissions cap each year, and help Oregon reach its goal of emissions that are 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Sen. Michael Dembrow, a Democrat from Portland and one of the bill's chief architects, said recent changes will ensure that rural Oregonians see the benefits of revenue generated by the program.

"Rural Oregon contains the people that are already most affected by climate change, and will be increasingly so," Dembrow said; "people who are dependent on natural resources - timber, agriculture, fisheries, etc. - where we're already seeing substantial changes due to climate change."

He said funds would first go to businesses affected by the policy change. After that, 60 percent of revenue would go to communities most affected by climate change, 20 percent to carbon-sequestration projects, and the remaining 20 percent to projects that decrease greenhouse-gas emissions.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
Scoop.it!

Chinese logging ban boosts demand for foreign logs

Chinese logging ban boosts demand for foreign logs | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
The Chinese government has enacted a ban prohibiting commercial timber harvests in its natural forests. The ban is designed to counter decades of over-cutting in Chinese forests, which contributed to a 5 percent drop in the country's log production in 2017.
 
Though the country will need to import more logs, it’s unclear how motivated Chinese buyers will be to compete with domestic sawmills, which are currently offering high prices.
 
“To expand the market, they’re going to have to go head-to-head with the mills,” said Gordon Culbertson, international business director at Forest2Market, an Oregon-based consulting firm for wood product companies.
 
Since 2013, China’s log production has fallen from more than 2.8 billion cubic feet to just under 2 billion cubic feet. The logging ban is expected to cause shortages for at least another three years.
 
China remains the top recipient of U.S. hardwood logs, boosting its imports by 19 percent. 
 
With an increased Chinese interest, removing logs from an already tight U.S. market could raise lumber prices inside the country. Chinese buyers are paying 50 percent more than the typical sawmill price for logs, says Wood Doctor Gene Wengert. They are paying the equivalent of $900 per 1000 bf, which means the wood will be very expensive when they saw it.
 
The species they want are red oak, white oak, hickory and cherry. These woods are trending in China among the newly wealthy, who have a taste for a higher quality product. They have markets that will pay this high price.
 
This, overall, will increase lumber prices within our country due to the shortage of logs, Wengert said. Already, sawmills are running very low in log inventory; this will make it even tighter. Wengert’s speculation is that cabinet and furniture operations will have to buy standing timber, or work closely with sawmills that buy standing timber if they want to control their supply and costs.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
Scoop.it!

Agriculture and timber 2018 outlook

Agriculture and timber 2018 outlook | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Institutional investment in agriculture and timber is set for a steady growth in 2018, after a year of growing momentum.

***

Guy Hopwood, senior associate, private markets at bfinance, said that, within the real assets sector, investors are now looking further afield to find better opportunities and diversify their exposures.

 

He said yields have compressed significantly in core real estate and infrastructure during, with greater competition for assets as a result of strong interest from large direct investors. The natural resources sector has been a significant beneficiary of this trend, with agriculture and timber receiving particular attention, he said, adding that “we have seen demand increase for these asset classes in 2017 and expect that trend to continue in 2018.

 

“This comes from a variety of geographies and investor types: the greatest activity today is from pension funds and other institutions in Australia, Canada, the UK and the US, but we expect this to broaden across Europe during 2018.”

 

The additional capital flowing into the sector bodes well for increasing levels of deployment, and greater demand – and valuations – for the underlying assets in future, he said. “Today we see a much larger universe of asset management offerings available in both agriculture and timber – particularly agriculture, which is going through its first wave of institutionalisation.”

***

“The emergence of open-ended funds is also another sign of increasing maturity and the expectation of future capital raising,” he said.

 

According to Jay Yoder, managing director at Pavilion Alternatives Group, institutional investors in recent years have shown little interest in timber, after its single-digit returns lagged other real assets sectors.

“However, the future may be brighter for timber investors. US mill capacity is growing and at the same time, competition from Canada is declining, due to supply issues in the western provinces,” Yoder said.

 

The US economy and housing market are gaining momentum. “Even if returns don’t rise significantly, timber still provides good diversification, capital preservation, and inflation hedging capabilities,” Yoder said.

 

 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
Scoop.it!

Conservation easement sought near Libby

Conservation easement sought near Libby | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

The Stimson Lumber Company owns forestland across the Pacific Northwest, but it sees challenges in Northwest Montana’s growing population.

Barry Dexter, the firm’s director of resources, says that developing areas’ lands “come out of timber production and go into mini-ranches or home sites for folks, and so that’s a little challenging for a fire management perspective, and it reduces the amount of land for the timber base.”

About 22,275 acres of the company’s land near Libby could avoid that outcome. If Stimson, conservation groups, state officials and Montana’s congressional delegation have their way, a conservation easement will allow forestry there to continue while preventing development.
***
Under a conservation easement, a landowner agrees to place certain restrictions on use of the land. Those restrictions are bought and held by a land trust or government agency, and stay on the land even if it’s sold.
***
“It’s forested land and would be maintained as a working forest with conservation values,” explained Ken McDonald, wildlife division administrator for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

The proposed easement, he stressed, “doesn’t take it out of the management scheme.” Stimson will retain the right to harvest timber on the land. But the easement “helps ensure [that] the management and the long-term use of that land is compatible with wildlife.”

Montana chose the property as its sole entry in what’s described as a highly competitive grant process. If it advances, an appraisal will determine its value. For now, the state’s requesting $6 million for the easement. It awaits assessment by a national review panel, which will rank the submitted proposals in mid-January.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
Scoop.it!

Robots could soon take over dangerous forestry jobs

Robots could soon take over dangerous forestry jobs | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

 

Some of the most dangerous and labour intensive jobs in the primary sector could soon be done by robots.

 

Researchers from Lincoln Agritech, Scion, and several universities around the country are working to develop robots that can be trained to work alongside people in the sector, and in manufacturing.

 

The $2 million project will take place over the next two years.

Agritech's group manager in precision agriculture, Armin Werner, said they would investigate how sensors and artificial intelligence could be used to help robots understand their surroundings and adapt to them.

 

He said they would provide enormous benefits to the primary sector, especially in dangerous industries such as forestry.

"We have so many hazardous working conditions. In forestry for example, felling trees, pruning trees in very steep and harsh environments, it is a very risky work area and in the future we need to support that work with robots that can adjust to the different situations in the forest," he said.

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
Scoop.it!

Why forests are spreading in the rich world

Why forests are spreading in the rich world | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Forests in countries like Brazil and Congo get a lot of attention from conservationists, and it is easy to see why. South America and sub-Saharan Africa are experiencing deforestation on an enormous scale: every year almost 5m hectares are lost, net. But forests are also changing in rich Western countries. They are growing larger, both in the sense that they occupy more land and that the trees in them are bigger. What is going on?

 

Forests are spreading in almost all Western countries, with the fastest growth in places that historically had rather few trees. In 1990 28% of Spain was forested; now the proportion is 37%. In both Greece and Italy, the growth was from 26% to 32% over the same period. Forests are gradually taking more land in America and Australia. Perhaps most astonishing is the trend in Ireland. Roughly 1% of that country was forested when it became independent in 1922. Now forests cover 11% of the land, and the government wants to push the proportion to 18% by the 2040s.

 

Two things are fertilising this growth. The first is the abandonment of farmland, especially in high, parched places where nothing grows terribly well. When farmers give up trying to eke out a living from olives or sheep, trees simply move in. The second is government policy and subsidy. Governments have protected and promoted forests for diverse reasons, ranging from the need for wooden warships to a desire to promote suburban house-building. Increasingly they welcome forests because they are carbon sinks. The justifications change; the desire for more trees remains constant.

 

The greening of the West does not delight everyone. Farmers complain that land is being taken out of use by generously subsidised tree plantations. (They get subsidies, too, but the ones for tree-planting are especially generous.) Parts of Spain and Portugal are afflicted by terrible forest fires. These burn especially hot in areas with lots of eucalyptus trees—an Australian import that was planted for its pulp but has spread of its own accord. Others simply dislike the appearance of conifer forests planted in neat rows. They will have to get used to the trees, however. The growth of Western forests seems almost as inexorable as deforestation elsewhere.

more...
OscarCrespopinillos's curator insight, December 19, 2017 3:50 AM
In 1990 28% of Spain was forested; now the proportion is 37%
Land abandonment in the rural areas and reforestation programs under the CAP and rural development programs have driven this trend.
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
Scoop.it!

U.S. finds Canada lumber harms U.S. producers; duties to remain

U.S. finds Canada lumber harms U.S. producers; duties to remain | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

The U.S. International Trade Commission said on Thursday it made a final finding that exports of softwood lumber from Canada harm U.S. producers, virtually ensuring that hefty duties on the building material will remain in place for five years.

 

The decision will impose anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties affecting about $5.66 billion worth of lumber and comes amid increasingly acrimonious talks on renegotiating NAFTA, the three-way trade pact among the United States, Canada and Mexico.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
Scoop.it!

Harvard Is in Talks to Have Bain Manage Real Estate Assets

Harvard Is in Talks to Have Bain Manage Real Estate Assets | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Harvard University’s endowment is in talks to move the management of a portion of its real estate investments to Bain Capital, according to people familiar with the matter.

Under the plan being discussed, Bain would hire about 20 people from the team at Harvard Management Co., which oversees the $37.1 billion endowment, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Bain would become the money manager for Harvard’s direct real estate investments, the people said.

Harvard Management and Bain declined to comment.

The deal would advance an ambitious effort to overhaul Harvard’s endowment, which has produced mediocre investment results for the last decade. It would also be a significant step for Bain, Boston’s biggest private equity firm, which has stayed out of real estate even as competitors have plunged into the asset class.
***
These direct stakes represent more than half of Harvard’s $5 billion real estate portfolio, and for a number of recent years were the best performers in the endowment, according to university annual reports.

The balance of Harvard’s real estate investments are made through external fund companies and these would remain under the university’s direct control, one of the people said. The management company sold more than $1 billion of these fund stakes this year as it cut holdings in the asset class.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
Scoop.it!

Canada opens WTO case against United States over lumber duties

Canada opens WTO case against United States over lumber duties | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Canada on Tuesday formally opened a case against the United States at the World Trade Organization over a recent Commerce Department decision to impose duties on Canadian lumber exports, the foreign ministry said.

 

A ministry statement said Canada would forcefully defend the lumber industry against the “unfair, unwarranted and deeply troubling” decision.

 

Earlier this month Canada launched a NAFTA trade challenge against duties affecting about $5.66 billion worth of U.S. lumber imports.

 

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is confident the Department of Commerce’s actions “fully comply” with WTO rules, said USTR spokeswoman Amelia Breinig, in a statement.

In any case, Canada’s decision to open a case with the WTO is premature, she said, since final duties are not yet in place, pending a decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission on whether imports of Canadian lumber have harmed U.S. producers.

That decision is expected in December.

 

The U.S. Commerce Department accuses Canada of unfairly subsidizing and dumping softwood lumber, which is commonly used in the construction of homes. Canada denies it is dumping the lumber.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
Scoop.it!

How the paper and forest-products industry thrives in the digital age

How the paper and forest-products industry thrives in the digital age | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Paper and forest products aren’t going away in the age of the smartphone and tablet, but the industry is shifting its focus to new use cases driven by digitization. In this episode of the McKinsey Podcast, Peter Berg, director of knowledge in McKinsey’s Paper & Forest Products Practice, and Oskar Lingqvist, senior partner and global leader of the practice, speak with McKinsey’s David Hunter about areas of growth in paper and forest products, including potential innovations in packaging and the overall value chain.
***
David Hunter: ... And digital is giving as well as taking away. While demand for newsprint paper is being lost as readers move online, the ever-increasing migration by consumers to make purchases online is generating demand growth for transport packaging. These are just a couple of the strands of the major changes under way. Oskar and Peter, how has the big picture evolved over the past 15 years? Is paper demand in irreversible decline and going to disappear?

 

If you look at this going forward, where do we expect it to end up? We see very different growth paths and growth trajectories for the different segments of the paper and forest-products industry.

 

Peter Berg: ... If you think of printing and writing papers, we see the decline probably continuing. It is quite unclear whether there will be a floor somewhere, where you reach an equilibrium, where we’re still using papers for reading and writing but at a lower level than we do today. Or will they disappear completely because people, particularly younger generations, have become so used to reading and writing and doing everything in terms of communications through electronic means?

 

David Hunter: Given these trends, what sort of initiatives are top of mind for executives in the industry today? What are the major challenges facing the paper and forest-products industry?

 

Oskar Lingqvist: ... We also see an increased focus on having access to the source of paper and forest products, which is the fiber. Essentially, while you see papers in decline or packaging or tissue growing, if you map that out, there’s actually going to be more scarcity or need for attractive fibers, especially those that we can breed in the northern parts of the globe. So getting access to the right raw materials is still very important.

 

If we want to mention one more theme, which is, of course, not unique to the pulp and paper or forest practice, it is the wave of various digitization initiatives that are happening. Why so? One, because any challenged industry will, of course, look to efficiency and effectiveness to drive out cost and increase performance. But also, which is maybe not so well understood, the paper and forest-products industry is one of those industries that’s very well set up—because of relatively advanced technologies, because of very continuous processes in manufacturing—to handle some of the new digital technologies that are available.

 

Peter Berg: ... The second one on fiber supply and the importance of having access to cheap and good fiber, as Oskar mentioned, is almost a bit of a tug-of war-coming up between different kinds of fibers. We have a certain situation in recycled fiber. If you take the average, across the world and across all products, roughly half of the fiber raw material in a paper product is recycled somehow.

You have that, as opposed to virgin fiber, fresh fibers, of different kinds. In addition, you have new technologies and new product developments around what people call nanofibers that may add to this tug-of-war and how you use different kinds of fibers in different ways. That’s an incredibly exciting development that requires a bit of time to see how that’s going to evolve.
***
David Hunter: I’m going to switch direction slightly. You’ve mentioned that there’s a need for new virgin fiber. Where is the industry looking in the world to develop that resource?

 

Peter Berg: That’s a very good question, and it’s a critical question for many pulp and paper companies. If you look historically, what we’ve seen over the last decades is that—or go even further back, if you wish—most of the paper production in the world was in the Northern Hemisphere, close to the forests of the Northern United States, Canada, the Scandinavian countries, where you have a lot of spruce and pine trees, out of which you made sawmill products, assorted wood products, as well as paper.

 

Over time it shifted also to the Southern Hemisphere—for example, to South America, to Brazil—where it’s easier to quickly grow trees, and in this case, it’s acacia and eucalyptus trees that have a tendency of growing faster than the spruce and pine trees of the Northern Hemisphere. There’s been, over the last decades, a significant movement for some kinds of fibers, the kinds of fibers that come from leaf-bearing trees down in the Southern Hemisphere. This is often in the form of plantations, so huge plantations on flatlands in, say, Brazil or in more hilly lands of, say, Chile. Going forward, the industry needs to look both for more such opportunities but also, to one of Oskar’s earlier points, for fibers of more strength, of longer fibers, from the kinds of trees and forests that you have up in the Northern Hemisphere.

So there is a need to more efficiently, in an environmentally correct way, use the forests of the Northern Hemisphere. This may be in Russia, for example, which has an enormous stock of these kinds of forests throughout its area. It could be in North America or the northern parts of Europe.

 

Oskar Lingqvist: When we look at that equation that Peter just described, you could take one of two stands, or maybe a combination thereof. One is to say, well, if we project out and we look at what will happen in terms of needs per segment, and what might happen even to topics we haven’t discussed, which is the quality of the fiber we recycle in our day-to-day products, one would say we could be looking at a quite big or substantial scarcity of the type of fiber that we know in the Northern Hemisphere, essentially what we call soft wood.

 

You could take a slightly different stand and say, well, it’s in those types of situations that technology comes to the forefront, and we see development, and we might see new mixed species or developed species increasingly also coming through what we call hardwood, so basically what comes from the plantations and mainly through eucalyptus. Who knows exactly where on that scale we will end up, but, again, having access to the right fiber and, if you’re in the industry, making the right bets on fiber become increasingly important.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
Scoop.it!

LePage tells lawmakers he will oppose borrowing aimed at helping biomass industry

LePage tells lawmakers he will oppose borrowing aimed at helping biomass industry | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Gov. Paul LePage told lawmakers he opposes a pair of bills that would have taxpayers fund a $45 million subsidy to help Maine’s foundering biomass industry.

 

In a rare appearance before the Legislature’s budget-writing Appropriations Committee, LePage said the Legislature should focus instead on ways of creating industries that bring greater value from the state’s more than 18 million acres of forest lands.

The bills to support investments and a low-interest revolving loan fund come less than two years after the Legislature passed a $13.4 million taxpayer-funded bailout of the industry that LePage reluctantly supported at the time.

 

“They took the state subsidy for two years and now at the end of two years if you don’t give them a subsidy they are going to close,” LePage said of the previous bailout that largely went to help one company and the loggers who supplied it. “I call that corporate welfare at the worst, it can’t get any worse than that because they are coming in and they are telling you up front the only way they can survive is by you giving them a subsidy.”

 

LePage urged lawmakers to instead consider a bonding proposal he has offered in the past that would pump $50 million toward developing new products from Maine’s forests. He gave the example of a hardwood plywood mill that could then manufacture rifle and pistol stocks for gun makers who currently import their plywood from Russia.

 

The governor said that during his private career helping to save struggling businesses, he was twice involved with biomass projects. “Let’s not keep going back doing the same thing we done and know we are going to lose money,” he said.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
Scoop.it!

Softwood duties take effect, legal challenges underway

Softwood duties take effect, legal challenges underway | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Anti-dumping and countervailing duties on Canadian lumber imported to the U.S. went into effect on Jan. 3. The duties are the latest step in the ongoing trade dispute of over softwood lumber.

Bloomberg reports that the U.S. Department of Commerce slightly lowered its previously-announced rates. “Wednesday’s anti-dumping duties cut Canfor’s rate to 7.3 per cent from 8.9 per cent; maintained the rate for Resolute, Tolko and West Fraser; and cut the rate for all other companies to 6 per cent from 6.6 per cent. Countervailing duties were cut for West Fraser to 18 per cent from 18.2 per cent. The rates for Resolute, Tolko, Canfor and JD Irving Ltd. were unchanged, while the rate for “all others” was cut to 14.2 per cent from 14.3 per cent. The changes were made after the department agreed with company allegations that “ministerial errors” were made in earlier calculations.”

 

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, issued a statement on Jan. 3, reiterating the Canadian government’s position that the U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber are “unfair, unwarranted and troubling.”

“They are harmful to Canada’s lumber producers, workers and communities, and they add to the cost of home building, renovations and other projects for American middle-class families,” the statement continues.

 

The Canadian government has already begun legal challenges of these duties under NAFTA and through the World Trade Organization, where Canadian litigation has proven successful in the past.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
Scoop.it!

Pope Resources Announces Property Sales Totaling $9.8 Million

Pope Resources Announces Property Sales Totaling $9.8 Million | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
The first of the two conservation transactions involved the sale of 1,504 acres to Kitsap County for $4.0 million. Like our 2016 sale to Kitsap County in the same area just south of our Port Gamble townsite, the Partnership will retain a timber deed under which it may harvest the currently standing timber for up to 25 years on all but 170 of the 1,504 acres. The terms of this sale will ensure continued recreational use of the property by the public with the Partnership realizing the full development value and continued timber revenues, along with creation of an amenity for the Partnership's other real estate development projects in Port Gamble and Kingston.

 

The second conservation transaction consisted of 216 acres of timberland in Jefferson County sold for $1.5 million to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This is the Partnership's fourth land sale to the DNR's Dabob Bay Natural Area Preserve, a series of transactions that date back to 2011.

On December 29, 2017, the City of Gig Harbor purchased an 11-acre business park lot from our Harbor Hill project for $3.5 million with plans to use the property for a park.

Less noteworthy, but worth mentioning nonetheless, the Partnership closed recently on three residential lot sales for a combined $745,000 from two different projects in Kitsap County.

"The sales we announced today, combined with residential sales at Harbor Hill previously announced in mid-December, total $22.3 million and we expect the related cash proceeds to be redeployed toward our co-investment commitment to Fund IV and the Partnership's small tracts timberland acquisition program," said Tom Ringo, President and CEO.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
Scoop.it!

UW studies say petite poplars are the future of biofuels

UW studies say petite poplars are the future of biofuels | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
In the quest to produce affordable biofuels, poplar trees are one of the Pacific Northwest’s best bets—the trees are abundant, fast-growing, adaptable to many terrains and their wood can be transformed into substances used in biofuel and high-value chemicals that we rely on in our daily lives.

But even as researchers test poplars’ potential to morph into everything from ethanol to chemicals in cosmetics and detergents, a commercial-scale processing plant for poplars has yet to be achieved. This is mainly because production costs still are not competitive with the current price of oil.

A University of Washington team is trying to make poplar a viable competitor by testing the production of younger poplar trees that could be harvested more frequently—after only two or three years—instead of the usual 10- to 20-year cycle. These trees, essentially juveniles compared with fully grown adults, are planted closer together and cut in such a way that more branches sprout up from the stump after each harvest, using the same root systems for up to 20 years. This method is called “coppicing,” and the trees are known as poplar coppice.

The team is the first to try converting the entire young tree—including leaves, bark and stems—into bio oil, a biologically derived oil product, and ethanol using two separate processes. Their results, published this summer in two papers—one in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering and the other in Biotechnology for Biofuels—point to a promising future for using poplar coppice for biofuel.

“Our research proved that poplar coppice can be a good option to meet the cheap, high-volume criteria of biofuel feedstock,” said lead author Chang Dou on both papers, a doctoral student in the UW’s Bioresource Science and Engineering program. “Our findings are significant for the future biofuel industry, and the ultimate goal is to make poplar coppice biofuel a step closer to the pump.”
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
Scoop.it!

Douglas Fir Log Prices Reach Record Highs in Pacific Northwest

Douglas Fir Log Prices Reach Record Highs in Pacific Northwest | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
Prices for Douglas fir logs in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) have spiked to their highest levels since Forest2Market has been reporting them via our Delivered Wood Raw Material Price Benchmark for Northwest US and Southwest Canada. Prices are at levels not seen for over twenty years, when the Spotted Owl crisis drastically reduced PNW federal harvests by 90 percent. Prices in October crested the $770/MBF mark, and they have consistently remained above the $700 level since early 2Q2017. We predict high-quality Douglas fir logs in some regions of western Oregon and Washington will be near the $850/MBF price level during December and into January.

Lumber prices remain high amid stable housing demand and remodeling activity, the ongoing Canadian lumber dispute, and a recent move by the Chinese government, which instituted a 5 percent reduction in domestic harvests. All of these factors will likely lead to further demand for PNW logs. However, 2017’s harsh winter followed by a devastating fire season have constrained harvests. Consequently, log inventories are low and demand has exceeded supply and driven prices to highs not seen in decades.

In addition to the influences highlighted above, National Forest timber sale volumes continue to be artificially constrained in the PNW. The FY2017 timber sale program only offered 2.918 BBF, which was roughly 50 percent of the allowable harvest plan—a 3 BBF deficit. As lumber markets have strengthened, the growth in demand has shifted entirely to available timber from private forest land. There is little wiggle room as western private harvests are already nearing sustainable long-term harvest levels. This is a boon for landowners and loggers, as mill buyers struggle to capture the measure of supply demanded by their facilities. This situation will likely continue well into 2018, and at least as long as lumber prices hold at current levels.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
Scoop.it!

Nearly $8 billion of Vietnamese forestry products exported in 2017

Nearly $8 billion of Vietnamese forestry products exported in 2017 | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
VNForest released the figure at a meeting to review its performance in 2017 and set tasks for 2018 in Hanoi on December 27.

The US, China and Japan were the biggest buyers of Vietnamese timber and wood products, accounting for over 70 percent of the total shipments of these commodities.

Vietnam also posted a record surplus of nearly 5.8 billion USD in the trade of forestry products this year, the administration noted, adding that the forestry sector’s production value increased by about 6.6 percent.

VNForest said the development of the wood and forestry product market created favourable conditions for processing and export of wood and non-wood forestry products.

In 2017, the country’s forest coverage reached 41.45 percent. More than 235,000ha of concentrated forest and 15,200ha of protection and special-use forest were planted.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
Scoop.it!

Report From Congressional Research Service: Softwood Lumber Imports from Canada

Report From Congressional Research Service: Softwood Lumber Imports from Canada | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it
Softwood Lumber Imports from Canada: Current Issues
December 14, 2017 (R42789)
Jump to Main Text of Report
Sam Radcliffe's insight:

Outstanding summary of the history and current status of the softwood lumber dispute

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
Scoop.it!

California wildfires as ‘new normal’ baseless to climate scientists

California wildfires as ‘new normal’ baseless to climate scientists | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

California Gov. Jerry Brown and former Vice President Al Gore lead the list of those blaming climate change for Southern California’s devastating wildfires, calling them “the new normal,” but others insist the science just isn’t there.

 

That includes climate scientists such as University of Washington meteorologist Cliff Mass, who moved to extinguish the “now normal” narrative by arguing that the data “strongly suggests there is no credible evidence” that global warming is fueling this fall’s California coastal wildfires, and that claims to the contrary are “baseless, if not outright wrong.”

 

“The bottom line of all this is that observations and the best scientific reasoning do NOT suggest that global warming is enhancing CA coastal wildfires through effects on temperature and precipitation,” Mr. Mass said Monday in a post on his weather and climate blog.

 

He and others have pointed to the heavy precipitation earlier this year in California after five years of drought, which resulted in high vegetation growth that feeds the flames.

 

“The destructive fires in California are not unexpected given the wet winter last year and resultant plant growth, followed by hot and dry weather since then in which the vegetation dried out,” University of Colorado Boulder meteorologist Roger A. Pielke Sr. said in an email.

 

***

“An important issue is the extent humans have deliberately or inadvertently started the fires,” Mr. Pielke said. “If these were not started by people (including sparks from power lines), how many fires would there have been naturally? Probably none.”
***
“This is the new normal,” Mr. Brown said at a news conference after surveying damage in Ventura County. “We’re about ready to have firefighting at Christmas. This is very odd and unusual.”

 

Mr. Gore conveyed the same message last week during his Climate Reality Project’s “24 Hours of Reality,” listing “more destructive and widespread wildfires” as one of the consequences of climate change and specifically the damage caused by the Southern California blazes.
***
The articles cite California’s record summer heat, but Mr. Mass argued that hot weather driven by greenhouses gases would not have made a difference because “grasses, shrubs and other fuels will be dry by the end of summer and during fall, no matter what.”

 

“So even if the summer/fall temperatures rose and the conditions dried further under global warming, IT WOULD NOT MATTER,” he said. “Without any additional warming, the fuels in late summer and fall are dry enough to burn over coastal California and always have been.”

 

John Abatzoglou, associate professor of geography and climate at the University of Idaho, said the prolonged Santa Ana winds whipping up the wildfires would not have made news if the rain came first.

 

Did global warming play a role? “We don’t have any mature science [that I’m aware of] that would implicate climate change as being behind the delay in the autumn rains,” Mr. Abatzoglou said in an email.

 

***

Mr. Abatzoglou cited “documented increases in fire activity and the length of the fire season across the western U.S. (and globally) over the past 3-4 decades, with some of this tied to climate change,” which is consistent with the National Climate Assessment’s finding of more large forest fires since the 1980s.
***
Bjorn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, compiled data from 1926-2017 showing that the acreage burned by U.S. wildfires has dropped fourfold since peaking in the 1930s, which was posted on the skeptics’ website Climate Depot.

 

David B. South, emeritus forestry professor at Auburn University, told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in 2014 that eight of 10 “extreme megafires” in the lower 48 states since 1850 occurred during cooler-than-average decades. “These data suggest that extremely large megafires were 4-times more common before 1940 (back when carbon dioxide concentrations were lower than 310 ppmv),” Mr. South said in his written testimony. “What these graphs suggest is that we cannot reasonably say that anthropogenic global warming causes extremely large wildfires.”

 

Mr. Mass pointed to a 2014 research paper in the American Geophysical Union journal showing that major coastal California wildfires have declined since 1984.
***
If there is any point on which there may be a scientific consensus, it’s that the relationship between Western wildfires and rising greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere is nothing if not complicated.

 

“As to whether this is a ‘new normal,’ it is easy (and inaccurate) to blame climate change just from added CO₂,” said Mr. Pielke, “when in reality the reasons for the fires and the damage they are causing are more complex.”

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
Scoop.it!

Harvard Endowment Chief Pushed for Steeper Devaluation of Natural Resources Assets

Harvard Endowment Chief Pushed for Steeper Devaluation of Natural Resources Assets | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

The new chief of Harvard University’s endowment pushed to slash the value of some investments last year, dragging down returns, and people familiar with the matter said he would have cut deeper except for pushback from other board members.

 

The write-downs of these natural-resources investments contributed to Harvard posting the worst performance in the Ivy League in 2017, and cut the return for the fiscal year ended June 30 to 8.1% from more than 11%.

 

Harvard’s new investment chief, N.P. “Narv” Narvekar, had pushed for even steeper cuts to the value of Harvard’s natural-resources portfolio of forests, farms and vineyards given his bearish outlook on some of the assets. If he had prevailed, the endowment’s return would have dropped into the 7% range, some of the people said. But some members of the $37.1 billion endowment’s board disagreed about the scale of those markdowns, said people familiar with the matter, and the board, which includes Mr. Narvekar, eventually settled for a roughly $1 billion reduction in the value of the assets.

 

The magnitude of Harvard’s write-down and the lack of detail disclosed about it have sparked a debate among university and endowment executives, past and present, about whether Harvard inflated past valuations or if Mr. Narvekar was overly aggressive in pushing for writedowns.
***
Under Mr. Narvekar, Harvard sliced by more than 25% the value of its natural-resources investments, an unprecedented write-down for that portfolio. Harvard had valued the portfolio at roughly $4 billion at the end of the prior fiscal year.

 

Harvard is an anomaly among endowments for the large natural-resources portfolio of forests and other assets it directly owns, instead of having exposure through outside fund managers.

That global portfolio has contributed to positive returns over the long term, though some of that contribution represented paper gains.

 

Many asset managers and appraisers say valuing assets that trade infrequently or aren’t generating cash—trees, for example, take years to grow before they can be sold for timber—is difficult. In the last fiscal year, Harvard shopped natural-resources assets but didn’t receive any bids for some of them, further complicating their valuation, said people familiar with the matter.

 

Harvard hasn’t disclosed any changes in its valuation policy for direct investments. In past years, Harvard regularly used outside appraisers’ estimates as part of its valuation process, among other factors.

 

Mr. Narvekar said some natural-resources investments carried more risk than previously calculated, according to people familiar with the matter. He pushed to raise the discount rate—a measure of perceived risk that affects assets’ present worth—which caused some investments to lose value, some of the people said.
***
Appraisers and valuation professionals not affiliated with Harvard described the drop in the portfolio’s value as unusual. “It doesn’t strike me it would happen on that magnitude in a diversified portfolio,” said John Fenn, who specializes in natural-resources valuations at Berkeley Research Group. The firm’s clients include pensions and sovereign-wealth funds.

 

Mr. Narvekar and his team wrote up the value of some of the portfolio’s holdings but cut that of others, some by as much as 50% from the prior year, according to people familiar with the matter. One of the hardest hit was a eucalyptus forest in South America, one of the people said.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
Scoop.it!

Loggers and truckers sue Xcel Energy over proposed shutdowns of plants

Loggers and truckers sue Xcel Energy over proposed shutdowns of plants | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

A group of loggers in Minnesota is using an environmental law to sue Xcel Energy about three biomass plants in the state that burn wood waste or turkey manure to produce electricity.

 

The Associated Contract Loggers & Truckers of Minnesota filed the lawsuit last week in state court to stop Xcel from buying and shutting down one plant and ending contracts with two others. The move, the group said, would eliminate 100 direct jobs and hundreds of indirect jobs.

***

Xcel said electricity from the plants is far too expensive, and contracts should be ended to save ratepayers money.

But Clean Energy Economy Minnesota, a nonprofit group that works with clean-energy companies across the state and is not part of the lawsuit, said that the three plants are critically important markets for biomass and represent millions of dollars in capital investments.

***

The turkey manure incinerator is located in Benson in western Minnesota, and the two wood-burning plants are in Virginia and Hibbing, owned by the Laurentian Energy Authority.

Xcel signed long-term contracts to purchase electricity from Laurentian and Benson until 2026 and 2028, respectively.

 

The biomass commitments were spawned by a multipronged 1994 agreement that Xcel's predecessor Northern States Power Co. made with the state. In exchange for permission to expand nuclear waste storage at the utility's Prairie Island nuclear plant in Red Wing, NSP promised to generate or purchase a certain amount of its future power from wind and biomass plants.

***

Xcel made the case to the 2017 Legislature that the biomass plants are the most expensive energy on the utility's system, and cost 10 times more than wind-generated power. It has also claimed that removing biomass energy could save its customers nearly $700 million over the next 11 years.

 

Lawmakers responded by passing a law that allows Xcel to buy out the contracts if the plant owners, cities and the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) agree to the details. Under those provisions, Xcel may purchase and shut down the Benson plant and get out early from its power purchase agreements with the plants in Hibbing and Virginia.

***

The loggers' lawsuit contends that shutting down the power plants will damage the health of Minnesota's forests. Harvesting the fuel utilizes thousands of acres of blown down, damaged and low-grade wood that is otherwise useless and would be left uncollected in the forests, the lawsuit said.

 

The result would be increased forest-fire hazards, negative effects on private and public timber management, and interference with projects to halt invasive species.

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
Scoop.it!

Pulp/Paper Industry Investment and Regional Implications

Pulp/Paper Industry Investment and Regional Implications | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

Forisk’s updated forecast of U.S. paper and paperboard projects a 3% decline in production for the next five years. Newsprint and printing and writing decline while packaging and household/sanitary products increase (Figure 1). Updated projections forecast slightly lower production levels of U.S. paper and paperboard than our 2016 outlook. The packaging forecast is lower than last year as production declined in 2016. Alternatively, printing/writing declined less than we expected in 2016, which contributes to higher (but still declining) production levels for the next six years. Forecasted growth in the paper sector varies regionally with exposure to end markets; the South benefits from packaging while the North declines with printing and writing. Despite a declining forecast for the North, declines could be less severe than forecasted as some mills could convert from producing printing and writing papers to growth sectors such as packaging or household products.

 

Investments in the sector mirror the production forecasts; pulp/paper firms invested at least $5 billion in the past five years, with 40% in household/sanitary facilities and 53% in packaging, based on public announcements. Announced investments in 2017 total at least $1.4 billion for the paper sector, with the most capital allocated to the packaging and household/sanitary sectors. Top investments for 2017 include GP’s investments at Brewton, AL, Resolute’s tissue machine in Calhoun, TN, and Clearwater Paper’s upgrades in Lewiston, ID. Resolute FP also shut down newsprint operations at Calhoun, TN in Q3 2017 to focus on tissue production. In addition, Graphic Packaging agreed to purchase International Paper’s North America consumer packaging business, a transaction valued at $1.8 billion. The business includes two paperboard mills in Augusta, GA and Texarkana, TX, along with four converting facilities.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
Scoop.it!

Biomass Plants in the Northeast Scramble to Change Business Model

Biomass Plants in the Northeast Scramble to Change Business Model | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

In the Northeast, biomass electricity plants are staring at some tough economics. For many standalone wood-fired electricity plants, the cost of fuel (wood chips) and operations exceed what they get paid for the electricity they generate. With natural gas (and thus wholesale electricity) prices expected to remain low—and state-level support for biomass fading—biomass plants are working hard to figure out how to continue operating.

New Hampshire and Maine have provided some short-term support to biomass electricity facilities in recent years with the expectation that the funding was a bridge to allow time for new economic models to be developed. We’re now starting to see some real efforts to find ways to improve the economic sustainability of these facilities, often in ways that add to the rural economy.

Biomass plants have a lot to offer as a co-location or re-use site. They have existing forest industry infrastructure (wood yards, scales, a procurement staff, etc.), permits, interconnection to the grid, as well as access to “behind the fence” electricity, steam and hot water. Companies are now seeking ways to utilize these assets to support continued (or expanded) markets for biomass fuel.
***
In New York, ReEnergy has announced “adaptive reuse” plans for their facility in Lyonsdale, with wood-based liquid fuel company Ensyn building a biorefining at the site that will re-purpose some of the existing infrastructure and use roughly the same volume of biomass chips. In order to maintain the wood supply infrastructure while the conversion occurs (and wood supply is critical for any wood-using facility), ReEnergy has a request for continued support through the Renewable Energy Standard now pending before the NY Public Service Commission.

In Maine, Stored Solar has been seeking co-location partners through their Born Global Challenge, which seeks to “addresses the global shift to a Bio-Economy and invites worldwide innovation into real projects and real revenues within The State of Maine.” In presentations made by Stored Solar, the company indicates that more than 50 partner companies have applied to work with them, and 14 companies have been pre-qualified through a technology and economic vetting process as appropriate matches for the facilities.
***
ReEnergy, with four facilities in Maine, has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP). Administered by the group Biobased Maine, this RFP seeks co-location partners, noting that “ReEnergy’s biomass power plants are capable of delivering cost-effective thermal energy (steam, hot water), electricity and CO2 to an industry or industries located on adjacent property.”

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Sam Radcliffe
Scoop.it!

CalPERS considers 4 asset allocation options; local officials prefer avoiding major changes

CalPERS considers 4 asset allocation options; local officials prefer avoiding major changes | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

As the CalPERS board and investment staff mull over a new asset allocation for the next four years, one group consisting of cities, towns and school districts is making it clear that the retirement system needs to steer clear of any major portfolio restructuring.

Several dozen representatives of municipalities and school districts warned the California Public Employees' Retirement System board Monday that they were concerned about being asked to contribute more to keep the retirement system operational, saying the money wasn't there and would lead to a funding crisis for them.

The board is expected to approve a portfolio during a series of meetings on Dec. 18-20 from one of four choices for the four-year period starting July 1, 2018. The global equity allocation ranges from 34% to 59% under the four options, while fixed income ranges from 19% to 44%. All of the portfolio options include a 13% allocation to real assets and 8% to private equity. Both asset classes are considered capacity constrained by investment staff, which does not believe it is feasible to increase the size of the asset classes and still find quality investments.

CalPERS' asset allocation as of Sept. 30 was 50% global equities, 19% fixed income, 9% real estate, 8% each private equity and inflation sensitive assets, 4% cash and 2% infrastructure/forestland. Its current policy allocation for equities is 46% but bull markets increased equity exposure to 50% at of the end of September.

more...
No comment yet.