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New Forests acquires 156,000 acres in US

New Forests Pty Limited has disclosed the acquisition of the 156,000-acre Hilt-Siskiyou Forest, a mixed-conifer forest along the California and Oregon border, from the Fruit Growers Supply Company (FGS) alongside an institutional investor client. Source: SWFI

Fruit Growers Supply Company was created by the Sunkist Growers in 1907 to manufacture wood crates for Sunkist’s California grown oranges. Fruit Growers Supply Co. has owned and operated core areas of the Hilt-Siskiyou Forest for more than a century.

New Forests manages more than US$300 million of California forestry investments as part of its US$4.5 billion global portfolio.

New Forests’ investment strategy in the United States is to acquire and manage forestry assets for sustainable timber production, environmental market exposures, and conservation. The global forestry investment management firm seeks to deploy at least US$500 million in capital for multiple clients in US forests during the next 24 months and is actively considering additional investments in the Pacific Northwest, Lake States, New England, and Appalachia.

This acquisition forms part of New Forests’ broader investments in the Klamath River watershed. In 2011, New Forests financed and developed the first forest carbon project in the California regulatory carbon market in partnership with the Yurok Tribe on land held by the tribe near the Klamath River.

In 2016 and September 2018, New Forests acquired on behalf of investors several forest properties in the Klamath River watershed, including the Ke’pel Creek and Pine Creek forests, which New Forests enrolled in California’s climate program to conserve the properties for long-term carbon storage and growth.

The deal in September 2018 includes the purchase of 10,400 acres of Humboldt County timberlands from Soper Company. The estate is known as the Pine Creek Timberlands and completes the placement of an investment fund focused on high carbon value forests in California. The Pine Creek Timberlands include Douglas fir, mixed hardwoods, and redwood stands. The property has historically been managed for high value Douglas fir timber.

The estate complements the recent acquisition of a predominantly redwood and Douglas fir forest with parcels located near Eureka on behalf of the same fund. New Forests also announced the acquisition of approximately 170,000 acres of mixed conifer forests in Northern California in early 2018, now operating as Shasta Cascade Timberlands LLC. The settlement on Pine Creek Timberlands brings New Forests’ US timberland assets under management to 186,000 acres.

New Forests is the largest timberland investment manager in Australia and has operated in New Zealand since 2005.