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Investing in forests, trees, etc.

By Al Cooke
Posted Tuesday, October 14, 2014

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Pittsboro, NC - I am glad John Dykers mentioned the possibility that he might "replant with pines to send great grandchildren to school." The proper management he mentions is an investment as well as long term commitment.

About 60% of Chatham County is covered in timber, and about 90% of that is owned by individuals. Most of them are our friends and neighbors. They invest in the land, pay taxes, and manage the timber for decades on the hope of sending children/grandchildren to school, financing retirement, or enjoying a long awaited "something." All of us benefit from this "borrowed landscape" and the bucolic nature of our community without any cost to us. But you can almost guarantee that when that timber is harvested, someone will complain and find fault.

I will agree that the pine monoculture is not a forest any more than a stand of wheat is a meadow. But if we did not have the option to harvest that timber, what would we do with the land instead? For those who will not want John's descendants to harvest that timber in 40 years, what would you have him do now instead? Unless you are willing to invest time, treasure, and sweat equity into the venture, that's just a rhetorical question. John owns his land and will pay taxes on it and will invest in proper management (because that's the kind of land owner he is).

The question now is not whether we think he should put in pines, a solar farm, outdoor art exhibit, community center, or anything else. It's really his decision. But if you wanted to influence that decision, John is sufficiently astute that I suspect he would evaluate your business proposition if you have financial backing, good ideas, and a long term strategy to offer. And if he is seriously pondering what to do with the property, now is the time to engage him, not 40 years from now when he wants to harvest.

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Investing in forests, trees, etc.