Owning Land

Who are the Top Timberland Owners and Managers in the U.S. and Canada?

Top 10 lists and rankings grab our eye and interest, from the Leader Board at The Masters golf tournament to businesses on the Fortune 500. Forisk has tracked and collected timberland ownership and management information for the past fourteen years. The ownership data goes back 50 years providing a rich source of data to summarize the history and evolution of private industrial forest ownership in North America. Currently, this research covers nearly 100 million timberland acres, including 336 private organizations in the United States and Canada that each own or manage 10,000 timberland acres or more. Who are the top timberland owners and managers as of 2019?

Top 10 Timberland Owners

Figure 1 lists the 2019 top 10 timberland owners in North America. Cracking the top 10 list required owning at least 900,000 acres. Weyerhaeuser, which topped the list in 2018, continues to lead with 12.3 million acres, about the same as the next six firms combined. J.D. Irving’s 1.2 million acres in Maine secure its place as the 7th-largest timberland owner in the U.S., and its 1.9 million acres in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia make it the second-largest owner on the continent. Rayonier, Sierra Pacific, PotlatchDeltic, and Green Diamond also remain in the same slots as last year. In addition, CatchMark Timber Trust leaps into the top 10 for the first time.

Figure 1. Top 10 Timberland Owners in the U.S. and Canada

Top 10 Timberland Managers

Figure 2 looks separately at the top 10 timberland managers in North America, or those firms that manage forest activities on behalf of their clients. Timberland investment management organizations (TIMOs), who manage timber assets on behalf of institutional investors and large private investors, hold six slots; these six TIMOs manage 15.5 million acres, or 58% of the 26.8 million acres managed by the top 10 firms. Four forestry consulting and management firms, including the largest organization on this list (American Forest Management), account for the balance.

Figure 2. Top 10 Timberland Managers in the U.S. and Canada

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About the author

Brooks Mendell, Ph.D.

Brooks Mendell, Ph.D. is President and Founder of Forisk Consulting, a forest industry, timber REIT, bioenergy and timber market research firm. Dr. Mendell has over fifteen years of operating, research, and consulting experience in forest business and finance. Mendell has published over sixty articles and two books on topics related to timber and timberland REITs and markets, forest business management and operations, and communication skills.

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