Local Lands, Global Impacts – Bowles Rice Views & Visions

West Virginia’s Forests Deliver Benefits into the Future

The Forestland Group (TFG) was founded by
a group of foresters, ecologists and economists
with diverse backgrounds in academia,
conservation NGOs and business who had
a shared vision to create innovative investment
opportunities through the sustainable
management of natural hardwood forests.
TFG was the first timberland investment
manager to certify its entire portfolio through
the Forest Stewardship Council’s third-party
certification program.

TFG purchased its first West Virginia property
in 1996 and, since that time, we have acquired
more than a million acres in the state on behalf
of our investment clients. For several years,
TFG was the largest public or private landowner
in the Mountain State.

West Virginia ranks third in the nation in terms
of forested area. With almost 80 percent of its
land area covered by forestland, the state is a key
focus area for timberland investments. West
Virginia’s forests are dominated by hardwood
species that are used to produce high value
products like furniture and cabinets, and
specialty products like white oak “stave logs”
used to produce barrels for aging whiskey.
A recent study suggests that the state’s
hardwood products yielded a value of over
$1 billion in economic output and supported
more than 10,000 West Virginia jobs.1

The U.S. hardwood industry was hit hard by
the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009, as
demand from the housing sector was cut in
half. The industry shifted focus during the
recovery and became more export oriented.
The export growth successfully created an
uplift coming out of the downturn; however,

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