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Forisk Forecast: Tracking the Top Timberland Owners and Managers in the U.S. and Canada, 2017 Update

This is the third in a series related to Forisk’s Q2 2017 forest industry analysis and timber price forecasts for the United States.

Forisk has been accumulating timberland transaction and ownership data for the past twelve years. The ownership data goes back 50 years and the transaction data goes back 20 years to 1996. This provides context when reviewing year-over-year trends. For example, the last four quarters produced nearly 3 million acres of industrial and institutional timberland transactions, maintaining the strong post-recession pace. TIMOs participated in more transactions by count, as either buyer or seller, than those of public timber REITs and forest industry firms combined.

Forisk analysis indicates “investable” timberlands currently comprise ~11% of all U.S. forests. In the past twelve months, our team made 232 updates to Forisk’s North American Timberland Owner & Manager List, which includes 312 private organizations in the United States and Canada that each own or manage 10,000 timberland acres or more. Of the 105 million timberland acres captured in the list, 83.1 million (79%) acres are with 114 organizations that own or manage 100,000 acres or more each in the United States.

The table below lists the 2017 top 10 U.S. timberland owners by acres. Overall, the ranking “order” remained relatively unchanged from 2016 while the composition changed with the addition of two firms. First, Green Diamond joined the list after we reclassified the firm from asset “manager” to asset “owner.” Second, Tall Timber Trust, not on the list in 2016, comes in at number nine (9) this year after acquiring 290,000 acres in Maine in 2016. Overall, these 10 owners of U.S. timberland have 24.1 million acres; timber REITs account for 68.5% of this total. This does not include the approximately 3.0 million acres directly and indirectly controlled by the two largest non-profit conservation owners.

20170504 Timber owner list

When looking separately at the top 10 timberland managers, TIMOs, who manage timber assets on behalf of institutional investors and large private investors, hold seven slots; these seven TIMOs manage 16.7 million acres, or 65.7% of the 25.4 million acres managed by the top 10 firms. Of these firms, the key change since 2016 was Forest Investment Associates (FIA) moving up to number 4 from 6, and Campbell Global moving down to number 6 from 4. Three forestry consulting and management firms, including the largest organization on this list (American Forest Management), account for the balance.

This timberland owner and manager research supports analysis of wood markets and investment trends, and will be published with the Q2 Forisk Research Quarterly (FRQ). To learn more about the FRQ, click here or call Forisk at 770.725.8447.

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