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North America’s Top Timberland Owners and Managers, 2020 Update

This post includes data from Forisk’s 2020 North American Timberland Owner & Manager List and the Q2 2020 Forisk Research Quarterly.

Forisk has tracked and aggregated timberland transaction and ownership data for fifteen years.  The ownership data goes back 50 years and the transaction data goes back over 20 years to 1996.  This research currently includes 337 private organizations in the United States and Canada that each own or manage 10,000 timberland acres or more. Over the past twelve months, this list has “churned” about 4.5%, reflecting the addition or removal of 1 in 22 organizations since last year due to their divestiture or acquisition of significant timberland holdings, reaffirming the fact that timberland owners continue to review and modify their businesses and total portfolios.

The table below lists the 2020 top 10 timberland owners in the U.S. and Canada. Each owns at least 1 million acres (versus requiring 900,000 acres to make the top 10 in 2019). Weyerhaeuser continues to lead with 11.1 million acres, about the same as the next five firms combined (and down from 12.3 million acres last year). J.D. Irving’s 1.2 million acres in Maine secure its place as the 7th-largest timberland owner in the U.S. and adding in its 1.9 million acres in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia make it the second-largest owner on the continent.

When looking separately at the top 10 timberland managers in the U.S. and Canada, TIMOs, who manage timber assets on behalf of institutional investors and large private investors, hold six slots; these six TIMOs manage 15.2 million acres, or 56% of the 27.2 million acres managed by the top 10 firms (versus 26.8 million in 2019). Four forestry consulting and management firms, including the largest organization on this list (American Forest Management), account for the balance.

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