Despite Problems, Tree Growing ‘One of Best Investments Around’

 May 2012 — ALBANY, Ga., May 16—F&W Forestry Services President Marshall Thomas, looking beyond today’s depressed timber industry, is convinced growing trees “may be one of the best investments around.”

Writing in his company’s newsletter, The F&W Forestry Report, Thomas acknowledges a “sense of hopelessness” he gets from talking with foresters, landowners, and others in the forest industry. “This comes from six years of falling prices and from the dry weather and fires we have experienced recently,” especially across the southern pine belt that stretches from Virginia to East Texas.

“When things get this bad, sometimes it helps to back away and look at the facts and see if the pessimism is really warranted,” he writes. He notes that historic “trend line” prices for timber—“average” prices over time without the highs and lows under “normal” conditions—are “significantly higher” for all tree products and almost double current market prices for sawtimber.

Thomas also noted that the cost to landowners for reforesting a site after timber harvest is about the same now as 25 years ago—approximately $200 per acre—with improved site preparation, more effective use of herbicides, and far superior seedlings.

“If you already own the land, tree planting may be one of the best investments around.  In what other business do you find the most significant cost (reforestation) hovering at the levels of 25 years ago?”

About F&W:

F&W Forestry Services, Inc., of Albany, Ga., is one of the nation’s oldest and largest forest consulting and management firms.  Established in 1962, F&W operates 19 offices in 12 states comprising the Southern pine belt, the Central and Appalachia region, Upstate New York, and Oregon in the Pacific Northwest. It also manages private forestlands in South America with offices in Uruguay and Brazil.