Monday, August 9, 2010

Timber REITs - Micro & Urban Forestry coming next?

What about developing micro-forestry projects on 'blighted' urban land, or large suburban lots and industrial/commercial campuses?  I know others have thought of this before, but I've heard that forestry can become a steady, modestly profitable business.  Now that REITs (real estate investment trusts) are entering the timber market, there could be new interest among the investing public and new investment sources for smaller timber/forestry projects.  

Has anyone created a working business model that owns or controls/manages many smaller woodlots (perhaps with quick-growing or high-value trees) that might be transferable to an urban or suburban setting?

In addition to the obvious timber products, a forestry business - especially a visible one in a population center - can 'sell' environmental benefits to the local community (green space, cooling, moisture & runoff retention, parks, wildlife/songbird habitat, carbon sequestration, etc.).  Such an enterprise might also be able to sell carbon-offsets or carbon credits on global financial markets.

Micro-forestry projects could be operated by community groups or community-minded environmental entrepreneurs.  Micro-forestry could be a viable revenue source for non-profits serving local communities -  and would be very interesting if they were catalyzed by land-grants from municipal governments.