Forestry As Investment Opportunity

Marshall Thomas, president of F&W Forestry Services, remains optimistic about the future of commercial tree growing despite persistently low sawtimber prices, the prolonged drought, and the accompanying threat of wildfires.

Writing in his company’s newsletter, The F&W Forestry Report, Thomas acknowledges that times are tough in the timber industry, giving rise to a “sense of hopelessness” among many foresters, landowners, and other industry stakeholders.

“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.

With today’s reforestation costs at about the same level as 25 years ago, Thomas says forestland owners may find tree planting “one of the best investments around.”

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