, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 95-104
Date: 27 Feb 2008

Comparative Advantages of Small-Scale Forestry Among Emerging Forest Tenures

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Abstract

Forestland tenure institutions and patterns are in a period of rapid change in the USA. Historically dominant forestland tenures are disappearing, and new tenures are emerging. Traditional, vertically integrated forest products firms have shed their forestland holdings which have been picked up by Timber Investment Management Organizations (TIMOs) and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). Increasing numbers of private individuals and families are purchasing small rural tracts and some communities are developing innovative means to gain control over nearby forestlands in order to protect these lands from commercial real estate development. Within this context of rapid ownership change, small-scale forest owners including families and communities find themselves at a competitive disadvantage, relative to large corporate owners, in wood commodity markets. This paper considers how small-scale forest tenures, relative to large corporate tenures, may be advantageous to society with regard to selected ecological, social, and economic factors. While the paper primarily draws upon illustrations from the US Pacific Northwest, its themes are global in nature.