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What are the Different Types of Forestry Companies?

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  • Written By: Karyn Maier
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2016
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Forestry companies provide services relating to the management of forests. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all forestry companies are in the business of cutting and supplying timber, as a lumber company or logging company would be. Instead, most forestry companies are engaged in the practice of improving, maintaining, and preserving forestland as a natural resource. Some of the services provided by foresters may include water and soil remediation, watershed management, erosion control, pest and disease control, reforestation, and ensuring that localized ecosystems represent biodiversity. However, many forestry companies specialize in services that extend beyond conservation.

For example, a growing number of forestry companies specialize in a specific discipline of forestry called silviculture, which is the science of optimizing tree density by applying certain agricultural measures to initiate regeneration of forest growth. These measures include enrichment planting, single or group tree selection, alternate thinning, and preventative management of environmental conditions with the potential to negatively impact growth volume and concentration. While these measures may seem to indicate that the science of silviculture is targeted toward reforestation, that is only part of the story. In fact, the typical goal of forestry companies that engage in these practices is to maximize the availability of raw material that may be harvested to benefit humans.

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Some forestry companies specialize in providing timber investment opportunities. In effect, they act as real estate brokers to negotiate and manage the sale of timberland, whether privately or industry owned. These assets may then be sold off to lumber processing companies who produce various products ranging from paper and pulp to construction lumber. Alternatively, these companies may be active in the timber investment market from a different strategic approach, such fundraising to purchase timberland. These types of forestry companies are often referred to as Timber Investment Management Organizations (TIMOs).

In addition to the investment of timberland, some forestry companies specialize in the procurement of timber itself. Their objective is to seek out potential woodlots and make an inventory of the volume and species diversity on the property, a practice known in the industry as timber cruising. The company then evaluates the monetary value of the standing timber and proposes a purchase offer to the landowner. If the proposal is accepted and the sale closed, the company then typically subcontracts with a logging company to harvest the timber.

Increasing concern over environmental issues such as deforestation and global warming has led the emergence of forestry companies that manage urban forestry. While these foresters still exercise practices that promote sustainable forestry, they are less concerned with profiting from the harvesting of timber. In fact, they are typically focused on serving local communities by providing services that advance the beautification and preservation of urban woodlands. This not only enhances local property values and overall economic stability, but also provides the opportunity to provide education and foster environmental stewardship.

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