1.1 Million Acres of Woodlands Sold

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Michelle Anderson
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1.1 Million Acres of Woodlands Sold
Michelle Anderson
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Last seen: 1 year 10 months ago
Joined: 11/03/2003 - 1:01am
1.1 Million Acres of Woodlands Sold

quote: PORTLAND, Maine -- International Paper Co. has agreed to sell 1.1 million acres of woodlands in Maine and New Hampshire to a timberland investment company for $250 million in one of the largest land deals in Maine in recent years. International Paper, based in Stamford, Conn., said Tuesday that the sale of all its woodlands in the two states to GMO Renewable Resources should be finalized early next year. IP becomes the latest papermaker to shed its timber holdings in Maine. Sappi, Georgia-Pacific, Bowater and MeadWestvaco sold their woodlands within the past six years. "Our decision to sell these forestlands is based on achieving a superior value for our forest lands while maintaining our ability to provide for the wood fiber needs of our two Maine mills," George O'Brien, IP's senior vice president of forest products, said in a statement. Maine Conservation Commissioner Patrick McGowan said when the IP sale is completed, more than 6 million acres of timberlands will have changed hands since 1998. "That's an alarming trend when we look at 50 years of stable ownership," McGowan said. "It gives people a lot of anxiety." Nearly all of the IP land that is being sold is in Maine, with the two biggest chunks being in Hancock and Washington counties in eastern Maine, and in Franklin and Oxford counties along the Canadian border. An additional 24,000 acres is in New Hampshire. The total acreage is nearly 5 percent of all the land in Maine and is roughly five times the size of Baxter State Park. GMO Renewable Resources is the timberlands investment division of GMO LLC, a privately held global investment company based in Boston. Under the agreement, the company will own the land and supply timber to IP for its mills in Bucksport and Jay. GMO Renewable Resources said it plans to continue maintaining open access of the land for hunting, fishing, snowmobiling and other outdoor activities. It said it will also continue leasing cabin sites for recreational lease holders. Bob Saul, director of domestic investments for GMO Renewable Resources, said the lands being acquired are some of the most productive and well-managed forests in the Northeast. "In addition to growing trees for the paper, packaging and wood products markets, we look forward to optimizing the value of this high-quality wood resource and managing the lands as a sustainable working forest," Saul said in a statement. "We also hope to build upon our strong relationship with the conservation community to keep this valuable forest resource intact." The sale is one the largest land sales in Maine in recent years as multinational paper companies have unloaded their holdings to raise cash. In 1998, Sappi Fine Papers sold 905,000 acres to Plum Creek Co. for $180 million. Later that year, Bowater Inc. sold 911,000 acres of timberlands and a sawmill to J.D. Irving Ltd. of Canada for $220 million, and another 656,000 acres of forestland to McDonald Investment Co. of Alabama for $155 million. In 1999, Georgia-Pacific sold 446,000 acres and Bowater sold 380,000 acres. MeadWestvaco last fall announced it was selling 629,000 acres in Maine and New Hampshire to help pay down debt. State officials said the single largest land sale in state history was in 1990 when Georgia-Pacific acquired 2.1 million acres in its hostile takeover of Great Northern Nekoosa. Diano Circo, forest policy advocate with the Natural Resources Council of Maine, said Tuesday's announced sale highlights the recent land fragmentation in Maine and the need to conserve and protect the state's land resources. "This is a big, big sale," Circo said. "This is one of the single largest sales we've seen in the past six years." He said GMO Renewable Resources to his knowledge has a good record of land stewardship. "And we're hoping they'll do this here," he said. IP, the world's largest forest products company, is the second largest landowner in Maine behind Irving.

[url=http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/ny-bc-ct--ip-landsale1109nov09,0,...

EJ
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Re: 1.1 Million Acres of Woodlands Sold

That is a wise investment, the investment company will manage the land well, since they will want a return on their investment for years to come.This quote is classic:"Maine Conservation Commissioner Patrick McGowan said when the IP sale is completed, more than 6 million acres of timberlands will have changed hands since 1998.
"That's an alarming trend when we look at 50 years of stable ownership," McGowan said. "It gives people a lot of anxiety." Well Maine Conservations Comish, if Maine was not so bad at running these companies out of business, by putting up referendums on forestry practices every couple years, I recon, less land would have been sold.That a bunch of psycho babble, these companies are selling to an investment group and the Comish worries about private land being sold by it's owner.That is excellent that they are going to allow land use for hunting and fishing and snowmobiling, looks like they are in it for the long term. (I hope i am right).Ed

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