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,