Conservation: An Attractive Attribute of Forestland Investing

For decades, LandVest has been the industry leader in the brokerage and management of institutional and private timberland in North America. Much of the acreage LandVest represents is productive working forestland, managed for sustainable timber production and recreation. Today, properties are increasingly identified by our team of brokers and foresters as having additive environmental assets beyond traditional land values.

LandVest has worked with many of these important properties over the past 53 years. Our team is proud to have helped steward millions of acres for and into the hands of conservation groups, public agencies, and private investors who recognize the importance of alternative-use values. Conservation attributes of forest properties may include avoided-conversion, easement development and/or stewardship opportunities, carbon sequestration and storage, water quality, plant and animal habitat enhancement, threatened and endangered species occurrence, and much more.

Investors interested in acquiring forestland may encounter properties that have a conservation easement, while other ownerships may have conservation attributes yet to be monetized. Each circumstance offers different yet important conservation opportunities. In the first case, the new landowner stewards the eased property forward, a task just as important as initiating the development of a new conservation easement.

With growing climate concerns as a result of CO2 emissions and ambitious corporate pledges for net neutral carbon emissions, forestland is a leading space for Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing. As financial and industrial owners gain an increased awareness for corporate responsibility and ESG, forestland investments provide an exceptional vehicle to deliver real and lasting results.

Notable Conservation-Oriented Transactions

Cabin Bluff, GA

Cabin Bluff (GA) |10,300± acres sold in 2018 to The Nature Conservancy
  • One of the largest undeveloped and entitled coastal properties on the eastern seaboard.
  • Thought to be the oldest hunting club in the United States, dating back to 1827.
  • Protection of longleaf pine, maritime, and coastal swamp forest important to the federally-listed gopher tortoise and eastern indigo snake.
  • Land Report 2018 “Conservation Deal of the Year.”

Chadbourne Tree Farm, ME

Chadbourne Tree Farm (ME) | 15,408± acres sold in 2020 to the Conservation Fund
  • Mutli-generational ownership with many regional stakeholders.
  • Adjacent to White Mountain National Forest and other protected lands.
  • Protects miles of river frontage and thousands of acres of watershed associated with the Crooked River and city of Portland, Maine.
  • Offers public access to outdoor recreation and trail connectivity.

Oakley Forest, VA

Oakley Forest (VA) | 2,922± acres sold in 2017 to Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
  • Conservation-minded seller who wished to see their family legacy of environmental stewardship preserved.
  • Located in historically significant region with Civil War battlefield sites spread throughout immediate vicinity.
  • Located in a high-growth county now offering public hunting and recreation.

Leopold Memorial Reserve, WI

Leopold Memorial Reserve (WI)| 1,024± acres sold in 2015 to a private, conservation-minded buyer
  • Conservation-minded seller who wished to see the property stewarded forward by private conservation buyer (rather than a formal conservation easement).
  • Situated on the banks of the Wisconsin River in the immediate area of famed conservationist Aldo Leopold’s inspirational thinking grounds.
  • LMR features historical significance, superb recreational appeal, working agricultural lands, hundreds of acres of forested lands, and a multitude of conservation principles and amenities.

Raquette River, NY

Raquette River (NY) | 13,244± acres sold in 2019 to the Conservation Fund
  • Located in the heart of the Adirondack Park Preserve.
  • Benefited by a conservation easement into perpetuity.
  • The property parallels over 11 miles of the Raquette River, a state-designated Scenic River, and includes the summit of Mount Matumbla, the highest point in Saint Lawrence County.
  • Conservation easement lends strong support to ongoing commercial forestry operations and private leasing with a minimum of forest management restrictions.

Spruce Creek Timberlands, NY

Spruce Creek Timberlands (NY) | 3,398± acres sold in 2020 to the Open Space Institute
  • Adjacent to the Adirondack Park Preserve.
  • Namesake Spruce Creek, several tributaries, and nearly 900 acres of associated wetlands flow through the property and drain to Mohawk River.
  • This water resource provides drinking water for the city of Little Falls.
  • Enhances wildlife connectivity in the region, provides public access and recreational opportunities.

On-Market Conservation Opportunites

Waccamaw Tracts, NC

Waccamaw Tracts 1,848± acres in North Carolina Coastal Plain
  • Contains presence of highly-ranked natural areas and presence of species of greatest conservation need within the Waccamaw River flood plain.
  • Located in high-growth county in coastal North Carolina.
  • Uneased property that offers connectivity between already conserved properties.

Ruby Timberlands, WA

Ruby Timberlands | 23,188± acres on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington
  • Professionally managed west-slope and coastal forestland.
  • Portions adjacent to the Olympic National Forest.
  • Low-risk capital investing through carbon offsets and social impact potential.

Tug Hill, NY

Tug Hill | 30,17± acres in Upstate New York
  • Large, nearly contiguous hardwood/mixed-wood forest.
  • Benefitted by a Working Forest Conservation Easement.
  • Has potential for a carbon offset project.