New reports document dramatic changes in the ownership of southern forestland
Two new research studies document dramatic changes in the ownership of Southern forestland and declining markets for its forest products. The Southern Group of State Foresters (SGSF), with the help of scientists from the USDA Forest Service and their university cooperators, recently reviewed the findings of two year-long research projects aimed at understanding trends crucial to the future of southern forests and private forest landowners.
One report, Strategic Factors Driving Timberland Ownership Changes in the U.S. South, documents the extent, reasons for, location, and nature of forest industry land transactions to non-industrial ownership. According to the report, more than half of the 37 million acres of timberland owned by forest industry was sold to institutional investors, such as Timber Investment Management Organizations (TIMOs). Primary reasons for divestiture include poor stock performance, the need to increase shareholder returns, debt reduction, increased tax efficiencies though Real Estate Investment Trusts and sub-chapter S Corporations, and the development of tax strategies that minimize capital gains.
David Wear | EurekAlert!
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