What to do?

KMorrisD kmorrisd at aol.com
Sat Aug 22 09:17:46 EST 1998

ddd at hi.there.com (ddd) wrote:

>Unfortunately, this means that I will not be able to
>physically manage the site too intensely over the next 10
>years - perhaps visiting it 2 times each year.  After that
>we may end up living on the site.  Thus, we are hopefully
>preparing today for our retirement nest egg.  That is why
>we're questioning the relative return on tree farming vs
>other investment opportunities.

I can't add much to what has already been written in response to your
questions.  But given your time horizon and work demands, I would think you'd
be best off looking for good land with large pole to small sawtimber grade
hardwoods (8-14" DBH).  Such trees will grow rapidly in volume, grade value and
market value (10-20% total value increase per year).  They would reach
financial maturity about when you're ready to retire and won't require much

Around here (western Massachusetts) land can be bought for the value of timber
and growing stock.  But it does take time to find it.  You might want to shop
around for a forester who can assist you with this process, plus the necessary
appraisal work.  Expect to spend some money on searching and preliminary
appraisals.  Narrow the search to a few properties, then hire the forester to
do full appraisals for the best candidate properties.

You might want to ask foresters if they have INFORM or WINYIELD.  These are the
only programs capable of analyzing all the ways that trees grow: volume, grade
value and market value.  Some foresters are capable of doing pretty good
analysis without these programs, but given your financial objectives, I would
think you'd want the best analysis possible.

One note of caution regarding any long-term timber investment:  Climate change
is real and increased frequency of damaging ice, wet snow and windstorms is a
real threat to any forest investment.  The threat will increase over time. 
Insect and disease threats will likely also increase.  You might want to ask
foresters about `weather-proofing` stategies for the species found in your

Karl Davies    

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