East Texas has an abundance of forestland. Individual East Texans own about 64% of the forestland, with Timber Investment Management Organizations, forest industry and government owning the rest. Today’s forests are the result of planning done 20 to 50 years ago. Those who reforested their property back then have seen substantial income from timber over the past several years.
In spite of good prices in recent years, more than half of the harvested acres belonging to East Texans have not been adequately reforested. In the past, logging practices usually left smaller pines to replenish the stand. Modern logging, using more complex machinery, usually does not. As a result, many stands grow back in “brush” and severely limit the owner’s future income potential.
With environmental constraints limiting harvesting in the Pacific Northwest, wood production has shifted to the South. Demand for wood products is expected to continue to increase and more and more federal timber is being locked up in “wilderness” or in the courts. These factors make it a good time to invest in the future by planting trees. Yields of over $100 per acre per year are common from planted pine stands. The economic impact from timber in East Texas is substantial and with abundant timber resources more industry may well be attracted to the region.
With many landowners getting older and with their children living away from the land, planting pines on open land is an attractive alternative to raising cattle. Planting costs for open land are fairly low and seedling survival and growth is very good if proper grass control is done. It doesn’t take too much imagination to see that looking after a pine stand is a bit easier than seeing to cattle (maybe not as fun..…until you take that check to the bank!)
The pine seedlings planted today are a far cry from the seedlings of the past. Genetically improved seed has increased yields from 15 to 25% per acre and has reduced the length of time from planting to harvest.
There will never be a better time than now to reforest your land. Income often begins around age 12 and can be counted on for the next 30 years at 5-10 year intervals. A typical rate of return for a well-managed forest is about 12% annually. And that’s not to mention the benefits from hunting, protecting water quality, carbon sequestration, providing habitat for critters and poking about on your property!