A friend asked me today if Maine timberland is a good investment. I think it is and invest in it myself. For me, there are many reasons for doing so.
I became interested in timberland because it has been a proven investment for many of my clients and other family members. I have witnessed well managed land provide periodic returns of stumpage while the land remained well stocked with trees for future harvest. As an investment, one of the key features of timber is the ability for the owner to leave trees on the stump to grow and move up to a more valuable product class. Unlike other crops, if markets are not good, trees can be left for a later harvest when markets improve. Additionally, with a number of other potential uses, land values over time usually continue to rise.
I would also credit forestland for helping to improve my mental health. Spending time in the forest I own has a relaxing effect on my mind. Doing the physical work of timber stand improvement not only helps increase the value of my woodlot, I find it the perfect stress reliever as it lets me forget about the complications of our modern world. Improving land of any kind gives me and most others I know a great feeling of accomplishment.
As a hunter, owning timberland gives me the ability to help our local game animals by managing areas for them. New growth from a harvest provides a desirable food source and cover for many of our favorite species like ruffed grouse, woodcock, rabbit, whitetail deer and moose. Areas left heavily wooded will provide good winter cover for those same animals.
The State of Maine gives a landowner a better chance at the any deer permit lottery. Any private landowner is eligible for the landowner permit drawing if the person owns a particular piece of land that is: 25 or more contiguous acres in size; is agricultural, forested or undeveloped land; and open to hunting, including hunting by permission. Any dependent living in the household of a qualifying landowner is eligible.
Maine has another benefit for timberland owners. The tree growth tax program is a special tax status available for owners who agree to manage their lands the commercial harvest of the forest. This reduction in property tax is the reward for the landowner to properly care for the forest and provide the raw materials that support our forest products industry. The requirement to have a Maine licensed forester provide a management plan also ads value to the ownership.
Timberland is a great asset that can provide you with cash returns, pride of ownership and recreational pastimes; it is also a potential legacy for your children and grandchildren. Properly managed forests have historically supplied generations of owners with all of the above.
If you are interested in learning more about timberland investing, United Country Real Estate's timberland specialty property group has an informative free E Book written by Eric J. Holzmueller PhD. Eric is a forester and one of United Country's many licensed foresters who are also land brokers. You can download the free book at http://investintimberland.com/