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Tracking the Top Timberland Owners and Managers, 2018

Forisk has tracked and accumulated timberland transaction and ownership data since 2006. 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. In the past twelve months, our team made more than 200 updates to Forisk’s North American Timberland Owner & Manager List, which includes 334 private organizations in the United States and Canada that each own or manage 10,000 timberland acres or more. Of the 97 million private timberland acres captured in the list, 89.7 million acres (92%) are with 120 organizations that each own or manage 100,000 acres or more in the United States and Canada.

Timberland Owners

The top ten timberland owners in North America hold at least one million acres each. Our top ten list this year also accounts for freehold land in Canada for the first time. Weyerhaeuser continues to tower over its competitors with 12.4 million acres – more than the next six combined. J.D. Irving’s 1.2 million acres in Maine and 1.9 million acres in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia make it the second-largest owner on the continent. Rayonier and Sierra Pacific’s acres are little-changed from last year, while PotlatchDeltic narrowed the gap between themselves and Sierra Pacific with their merger in the first quarter. Green Diamond makes a big leap this year as well, expanding southward to become equity stakeholders and managers of the 380,000-acre Twin Creeks Timber.

CalPERS leads a tight group of timberland owners in the lower half of the top ten, but possibly not for long: their 1.1 million acres in Texas remain on the market, in search of a buyer that can stomach the massive property. Acadian Timber, PRIM (Massachussetts Pension Reserves Investment Management), and John Malone’s BBC Land round out the list with about a million acres apiece.

Timberland Managers

When looking separately at the top 10 timberland managers, TIMOs hold seven slots. These seven TIMOs manage 17.8 million acres, or 66% of the 27.2 million acres managed by the top 10 firms. Of these firms, the key change since 2017 is Wagner Forest Management moving up from No. 10 to No. 3, as we now include their 1.3 million acres in Nova Scotia and Ontario. 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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