New Forests

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 237–255 | Cite as

Timber investment returns for selected plantations and native forests in South America and the Southern United States

  • Frederick CubbageEmail author
  • Patricio Mac Donagh
  • José Sawinski Júnior
  • Rafael Rubilar
  • Pablo Donoso
  • Arnaldo Ferreira
  • Vitor Hoeflich
  • Virginia Morales Olmos
  • Gustavo Ferreira
  • Gustavo Balmelli
  • Jacek Siry
  • Mirta Noemi Báez
  • José Alvarez
Original paper


Timber investment returns were estimated for the principal exotic and selected native species in the Southern Cone of Latin America and in the Southern United States. Exotic eucalyptus plantations in South America were most profitable, with internal rates of returns (IRRs) ranging from 13% to 23%, followed by exotic loblolly pine, with IRRs from 9% to 17%. Average loblolly pine plantation returns in the US South were less profitable, with an IRR of about 9.5%, and natural forest management in the South had IRRs of 4% to 8%. Subtropical native species plantations of the best araucaria and nothofagus species had reasonable financial returns, with IRRs ranging from 5% to 13%. Subtropical or tropical native forests had fewer commercial timber species, and had much lower growth rates and returns. Their IRRs were less than 4%, or even negative for unmanaged stands. State subsidy payments for forest plantations or for timber stand improvements increased IRRs somewhat and reserving areas for environmental protection reduced their IRRs slightly. Including land costs in the cash flows decreased these internal rates of return substantially. Natural stand returns in Latin America were much less than those of plantations, but management of those stands offered better rates of return than only holding the land.


Financial analyses Forest plantations Native forests Latin America Biological and financial risk 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frederick Cubbage
    • 1
    Email author
  • Patricio Mac Donagh
    • 2
  • José Sawinski Júnior
    • 3
  • Rafael Rubilar
    • 4
  • Pablo Donoso
    • 5
  • Arnaldo Ferreira
    • 6
  • Vitor Hoeflich
    • 7
  • Virginia Morales Olmos
    • 9
  • Gustavo Ferreira
    • 8
  • Gustavo Balmelli
    • 8
  • Jacek Siry
    • 9
  • Mirta Noemi Báez
    • 2
  • José Alvarez
    • 10
  1. 1.Department of Forestry and Environmental ResourcesNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.Universidad Nacional de Misiones (UNAM)EldoradoArgentina
  3. 3.Universidade do Contestado-CanoinhasCanoinhasBrazil
  4. 4.Universidad de ConcepciónConcepciónChile
  5. 5.Universidad Austral de ChileValdiviaChile
  6. 6.Consultant, Forest GeneticsLos AngelesUSA
  7. 7.Embrapa Florestas and Universidade Federal do Paraná (UFPR)Brazil CuritibaBrazil
  8. 8.Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria (INIA)TacuaremboUruguay
  9. 9.University of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  10. 10.CMPC ForestryConcepciónChile

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