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From Backwoods to Boardrooms: The Rise of Institutional Investment in Timberland
by Daowei Zhang
foreword by Clark S. Binkley
Oregon State University Press, 2021
Paper: 978-0-87071-142-8 | eISBN: 978-0-87071-143-5
Library of Congress Classification SD387.L33Z43 2021
Dewey Decimal Classification 634.92

Since the early 1900s, forestland ownership has gone through two major structural changes in the United States and other parts of the world: the accumulation of industrial timberlands between the 1900s and 1980s and, since then, the shift from industrial to institutional ownership. From Backwoods to Boardrooms explores the history and economics of these two structural changes with emphasis on the latter. These ownership transformations have impacted tens of millions of acres of private landholdings and billions of investment dollars. Industrial structure, forest management and policy, research and development, community welfare, and forest sustainability have all been directly affected.   

Through a historical examination of key events and players, prevailing management philosophies, public policy, and institutional factors, Daowei Zhang searches for an economic explanation and assesses the impact of these ownership revolutions with a three-pronged approach. First, he explains why industrial firms were able to profit from owning forestlands, and how the shift to institutional ownership came about. Second, he compares private timberland investments and public equity investments with respect to risk-adjusted returns and other dimensions of interest to investors and forest managers, including alignment of interests, capacity to exploit market inefficiencies, and their forest management and conservation records. Finally, he provides thoughtful commentary on the future of institutional timberland investments and global forest sustainability.   
From Backwoods to Boardrooms is essential reading for forest managers, investors, and anyone interested in understanding the workings of the modern forest sector and the future of forest sustainability.


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