Greensboro, Ga. – Industry leaders met last week to discuss the impacts of the global financial crisis on the future of investing in the timberland asset class.
The Center for Forest Business, a unit within the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, hosted “The Timberland Asset: Stable Investments for Turbulent Times” March 18 – 20 at the Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation on Lake Oconee, Georgia.
Timberland is an alternative asset class with a proven record of dependable returns, and which possesses unique qualities that offer an inflation hedge and a stable alternative for many portfolios. This is especially attractive in today’s volatile economy.
Keynote speaker Dr. Chris Zinkhan, CEO and Managing Director of The Forestland Group LLC, described several countervailing forces that will determine the future course of timberland investments. In particular, one set of opposing trends is the current market’s premium on liquidity while still seeking exposure to strategic options.
While acknowledging the challenging nature of our economy, Dr. Court Washburn, CIO and Managing Director of Hancock Timber Resource Group, said that in the current downturn, timberland has held its value and brought higher returns than other investments such as other real estate, equity markets and bond markets. In the near term, he expected timberland prices to decline due to the low prices for other assets and the market’s expectation of higher rates of return. Like other speakers at the conference, he pointed out that in the long term the basic characteristics of timberland assets will continue to show stability when compared to other investments.
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