A timberland investment offers a great hedge against inflation as reported recently in a report by J P Morgan Investment Analytics & Consulting.
Last year NC experienced one of the worst droughts on record. Many landowners contacted us concerned with how the lack of water affected their trees. Lack of water reduces growth, lowers resistance to other stresses and will eventually lead to the death of the tree if the drought continues. Fortunately, trees have internal defense mechanisms to help them survive the effects of a drought.
Interest in both buying and selling timberland may be at an all time high. Both buyers and sellers have been actively pursuing deals in the Carolinas and Virginia recently.
A good management plan acts as a road map to take you to where you want to be in regards to your property. Without one, your final destination may not be what you were expecting. In preparing your plan, one of our professional foresters will work with you to develop a customized forest management program to meet your goals. The plan can significantly increase the financial returns from your property. In addition to forest management recommendations, the plan will also address wildlife management, recreation, water quality and soil conservation.
Many NC landowners are unaware of the potential for savings under the NC Present Use Program enacted in 1974. The purpose of the program was to provide landowners with a way to reduce property taxes, in the face of rising real estate values. Without this program, many landowners would have been forced to sell their property just to pay the taxes. Under the program, tax values are assessed based upon the current use instead of market value. Land can qualify as either timberland or agricultural property.
After we have sold your timber and the excitement of receiving a top-dollar price has subsided, it is time to conduct the harvest. Supervision of the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMP’s) during your timber harvest is a primary part of our work. Many private forestland owners may not even know what BMP’s are and, if they do, they probably haven’t given much consideration to how to implement them. However, they are critical to a successful harvest and the future productivity of the land.
Just as savvy investors in the stock market often go against the crowds; buying when others are selling and selling when others are buying, savvy timberland owners should look for similar opportunities. When everyone else is "waiting on the market to get better", may be the very best time to market your timber.
A landowner selling his land always wants the best price for his property. There are several issues to consider before marketing the land that can greatly increase the marketability and drive up the price. Many of these same issues also affect the marketability of the timber.
Many landowners think of harvesting and reforestation as two separate and sequential activities, but planning for reforestation before the first tree is harvested can make a big impact on your bottom line by reducing expenses and increasing revenues.
The southern pine beetle is the most destructive forest insect pest in the South. In North Carolina last year, the beetles affected over 1.5 million acres of pine and destroyed timber valued at over 12.4 million dollars.
In recent years, thousands of North Carolina timberland owners have experienced significant timber losses due to catastrophic events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, fire and pine beetle infestations. Hurricane Isabel is only the latest example, with estimated timber losses exceeding $565 million in North Carolina alone. Based on our experience, landowners with mature timber damaged by Hurricane Isabel will probably receive less than 50% of the market value of their timber before the storm hit.
Landowners sometimes ask, "What's better - planting or natural regeneration?" Generally, we answer this with another question: "How do you define better?"
Both methods are viable options for regenerating a forest, but each has some advantages and trade-offs. Here's a summary of some of the key considerations.
Looking for a source of income between timber harvests? It's possible to gross $1,000 or more per acre per year by gathering, marketing and delivering Longleaf Pine straw. Or if you don't want to take on the whole job, pine straw suppliers may pay you up to $150 per acre for the right to harvest fallen needles on your land. In Georgia and North Carolina, pine straw is a $50 million industry annually.
We were recently contacted by a family who had inherited property many years ago and had no idea of the actual value of the timber. Because there were a number of heirs involved, most of them living out of state, none of them had taken the initiative to determine the value of what they had.
Below is a list of management recommendations to insure that you get the most from your new stand of Loblolly Pine Seedlings. Time frame will vary depending on the individual site conditions. Boundary lines and fire breaks should be maintained at all times. Seek professional forestry advice at the first sign of problems.
There are four essential elements to any successful habitat:
- Space - We often cannot do anything about the "space" available for wildlife. Our properties have boundaries and it is usually difficult or very expensive to increase the available space. Use of hunting leases is a useful way to increase space, while keeping costs down
- Water - Over most of the south, water is plentiful and usually not a limiting factor, as it is in the west.
- Food - Can increase quantity and quality through food plots, supplemental feeding and managing timber stands.
- Cover - Nesting or bedding cover can be improved by any type of timber harvest that opens up the canopy and allows sunlight to reach the ground. This invites new growth beneficial to many species.
* Information condensed from "Improve Your Habitat" article written by Larry Weishuhn, wildlife biologist.
New research shows that the highest wildlife use of forestland-in terms of total numbers of wildlife, as well as species diversity-occurs in the cutover and seedling stage. A study conducted by Champion International and Stephen F. Austin State University examined wildlife use among cutover/seedling, sapling, pole and sawtimber successional stages.
First, we should probably describe a consulting forester. In a nutshell, a consulting forester is a natural resource professional who is qualified to practice forestry for the benefit of society. In 1989, North Carolina defined a consulting forester under state law (General Statute 89-B) as one who:
- is registered by the State Board of Registration for Foresters;
- is an educated professional;
- is governed by the SAF Code of Ethics;
- is competent to practice forestry for the benefit of society; and
- has not engaged in any practice that would constitute a conflict of interest or in
- any way diminish his ability to represent the best interests of his clients.
The American Tree Farm System began in 1941 as a means to promote sound forest management practices for private forest landowners. Sponsored by forest industry, the program occurs in all 50 states, however in the early 90’s the program was discontinued in North Carolina . In a cooperative effort from North Carolina ’s foresters and the forest industry, the Tree Farm System is now returning to our state.