If you own forested land, you already know the pleasure of being in nature, and unless you’ve been hiding under a rock on that land, you have heard a lot about how important forests are to our future as a society, capturing carbon, being harvested to help build much-needed housing and more. There are a lot of reasons that we should invest in forests as a society, but what are the reasons to do so as a landowner? Won’t the forest be fine growing on its own? Let’s explore these questions and how we can help along the process.
Won’t the Forest Be Fine Either Way?
Yes, sort of. Maybe. Forests have been growing without human intervention for longer than there have been humans to intervene. So yes, of course, the forest will be “fine” either way. However, this doesn’t mean an unmanaged forest will be efficient.
When we invest in forests by managing them actively, we create scenarios in which more carbon is captured in the same amount of space and time. We also make it more likely that our land will produce useful timber that fuels a whole range of industries both in our own country and abroad.
So, while forests will certainly exist without investment, we don’t benefit as much from them as a society if they’re unmanaged. As a landowner, a managed and invested-in forest offers substantial income over time, too. Leaving potential income on the table isn’t a benefit to anyone.
What Do I Get Out of Timberland as an Owner?
In a word, income. The income from timberland isn’t as consistent as income from, say, a rental property. It is, however, reliable and low-effort by comparison. Most landowners play little or no active role in the management of their forested land beyond contracting a forester and paying for their services. Despite the ease of managing wooded land from a landowner perspective, many landowners don’t spend the minimal time and energy needed to achieve this result. Contracting a forester like Tall Pines Forest Management can be a matter of just a few hours of meetings and paperwork for decades of ongoing periodic income.
Beyond income, a well-managed forest is a pleasure to be enjoyed. Walking the land, hunting on it, or even camping on it is a landowner’s right and can be immensely personally rewarding. Teaching your children or grandchildren to respect the land by example and experience is a benefit that can ripple across generations. Forest management makes all of this not only easier but qualitatively and quantifiably more rewarding.
Does Investment Make a Meaningful Difference?
Investing in your forest is an investment in your (and our) future. Time, energy, and money invested today will yield a profit tomorrow. Globally, this fiscal return on investment averages somewhere between 15% and 30%. While this isn’t an enormous return, it’s a reliable one based on a tangible product and not speculated value.
For many, though, income isn’t the only priority when investing in a forest. Managed forests, thanks to more frequent regeneration, tend to capture more carbon than natural forests, which are dominated by long generations of senior trees that grow relatively slowly.
Perhaps it’s counter-intuitive, but by harvesting a tree that is used for dimensional lumber, or another permanent application (rather than fuel), you’re keeping the carbon that the tree captured in its life out of the atmosphere. Left on their own, forests can experience fires or natural die-off and decomposition that releases much of the captured carbon back into the atmosphere. In this way, harvesting mature trees and allowing juvenile trees the room to grow quickly reliably captures more carbon than simply letting the forest grow wild.
Want to Accomplish More? Work With a Forester
If you want to accomplish great results with your timberland, you really need a proper forest management plan and an expert to help you assess and implement it. If you’re in Maine or New Hampshire, that’s where Tall Pines Forest Management comes in. Our expert foresters can help with all stages, from pre-purchase through planning and implementation, even managing harvests. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help!