When it comes to investing, perhaps the most basic tenet is this: Make an informed decision. This is true for mutual funds, real estate, and, of course, timberlands. For timber holding companies, making an informed decision about forestlands always starts with due diligence. This, by no surprise, includes knowing for sure what’s on those thousands of acres of timberland.
But can you really know what’s on the land? And if so, how?
Obviously, you or even someone you delegate, can’t personally inspect each and every parcel of land. And even if you could, the sheer volume alone would make your inspection look like searching for a grain of sugar in a saltshaker. In the interest of fiscal responsibility, that doesn’t mean you’re exempt from knowing crucial land-related information.
Awareness is Key
Take a look at these three questions to uncover the answer to the ultimate question: Do you really know what’s on your land?
- Are the parcels rich in wildlife habitats?
Responsible forestry starts with being committed to cultivating and sustaining healthy and productive forestlands. Find out if yours is rich with fish and wildlife habitats (whether you plan to offer recreational leasing or not).
- Is the forest flush with trees for harvest?
Even if the majority of your timberlands remains unharvested, you should know whether the portion you plan to harvest is rife with your preferred native species. You’ll also want to do a careful analysis of the harvest lands in order to determine which method of silviculture harvesting you’ll use.
- Are the timberland assets accurately reflected in the legal documentation?
Find out if the land boundaries are as they’ve been deeded. Ensure that you have access to all easements, rights-of-way, inspections, surveys, warranty deeds, and other supporting documentation for the life of your ownership.
BTW, congratulations if you’ve got a handle on #3! It’s a tough one.
In fact, for many TIMOs, REITs, and forestland owners, DIY land document management may not be the best way to go.
That being said, Orbis can help you simplify and streamline the documentation associated with the entire lifecycle of your land assets.
From centralizing, to analyzing, to updating, to managing the data of your timberland asset class, are you doing all you can from a documentation perspective? And is your document management system or platform truly helping to maximize ROI and minimize risk?
Share your answers in the comments below.