The Forestland Group LLC (“TFG”) was formed in 1995 as an independent timberland investment management organization (“TIMO”) with the intent of emphasizing the acquisition of naturally regenerating hardwood and some softwood forests. A sampling of the milestones achieved since its founding is as follows:
- 1996: The closing of its first commingled fund, with $70 million in capital. This fund acquired four properties, its first in West Virginia in December.
- 1999: In a transaction involving Champion International and The Conservation Fund, TFG closed its first conservation transaction. A working-forest conservation easement was sold on approximately 110,000 acres of timberland in the Adirondacks of New York.
- 2005: TFG was the first TIMO in the world to successfully certify its entire portfolio of timberlands in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Forest Stewardship Council (“FSC”). This followed TFG’s pioneering effort in 1999 in becoming the first TIMO to successfully complete an independent third-party FSC certification audit on a major property.
- 2005: Governor Jennifer M. Granholm and representatives of The Nature Conservancy and TFG announced a binding agreement on a conservation transaction involving more than 270,000 acres of the Bishop Estate Property in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The transaction included both the sale of sensitive acreage in the Big Two Hearted River watershed as well as a crafted working-forest conservation easement.
- 2005: TFG was selected as one of three winners of a Corporate Sustainable Standard Setter Award by the Rainforest Alliance in recognition of leadership in the movement toward sustainable certification.
- 2006: TFG announced the acquisition of the Anderson-Tully Company (“ATCO”) by two of its funds. ATCO is a vertically-integrated forest products company organized as a real estate investment trust (“REIT”). With 323,000 acres of hardwood timberlands, ATCO is the largest landowner along the Mississippi River.
- 2007: With 43 investors, TFG closed its largest commingled fund, Fund VI, with $550 million in outside capital. Fund VI represented TFG’s first fund to be structured as a private REIT.
- 2007: TFG closed its first New Market Tax Credit (“NMTC”) financing. Sponsored by the US Treasury Department to help increase investments in low-income communities, the program provides low-interest financing for qualified investments. This project provided partial funding of a hardwood timberland property in the Appalachian region.
- 2008: Through an investment in the Yalbac Ranch and Cattle Corporation, TFG made its first international commitment. The investment included 163,000 acres of largely hardwood forest in Belize.
- 2010: Governor Ted Strickland and a representative of the Department of Natural Resources announced the opening of Ohio’s newest state forest, the 12,089-acre Vinton Furnace State Experiment Forest as well as the neighboring 3,405-acre Vinton Furnace State Wildlife Area on timberland sold by a fund managed by TFG. With assistance from The Conservation Fund and other groups, Governor Strickland called this project ”an example of true private-public collaboration at its strongest.”
- 2013: Blue Source and TFG announced a 500,000-tonne carbon offset sale from the Blue Source-Bishop Improved Forest Management Project located on TFG-managed properties in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The offsets will be sold to Shell Energy North America (US), LP, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell after being verified to the California Air Resources Board’s methodology for forest-carbon projects. This sale represented one of the largest unique offset projects in development for the California program.