The 10th 'Who Will Own the Forest' Conference

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Doug Williams, Jason Smith, Jim Hackett, and Mike Buell attended the three day Who Will Own the Forest Conference (WWOTF) in Portland, Oregon. The conference is the must attend event for professionals involved in national and international timberland investment including institutional investors, TIMOs, REITS, land managers, forest companies, and consultants.

This was our fifth year attending the conference and we are always amazed at the amount of investment activity in timberlands. Below is a snippet from the WWOTF website: "It is estimated that institutional investors now own more than 25 million acres of U.S. forests, worth more than US$50 billion. Investors are allocating part of their portfolios to forestland as they seek diversification, inflation protection, and potentially higher rates of return than the bond or equity markets."

The conference is optimistic on the value of forestlands – and should be considering the amount of investment occurring in North America, Latin America, Africa, and Asia. The need to diversify pension funds (typically 1-2% of a portfolio is pegged for timberlands) in excess of US$245 billion provides many opportunities for potential timberland transactions here in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

The conference provides many networking and educations opportunities. We especially enjoy catching up with colleagues, interacting with current and prospective clients and other firms who are in our line or work.

The focus of this conference was the economy and its impact on forestland investments, forestland valuations, investing overseas, regulatory, tax and lending drivers, and emerging values. One of the more interesting presentations was given by Brent Vicary (Sewall Consulting) who discussed transaction due diligence in timberland

The WWOTF 11 conferenceoccurs September 15-17 2015. If you get the chance to attend the Portland conference, do so, you will not be disappointed.

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