Private forest landowners, specifically family forest owners, have multiple objectives for owning and managing their property. Managing property for various objectives may require different cost inputs and potential timber revenue losses. In South Carolina, loblolly-shortleaf pine accounts for over 43% of forest types, and loblolly pine is the most common tree species. Understanding the economic implications of different land management objectives is critical for private forest landowners.
Clemson Extension Land-Grant Press recently published an interesting article examining the importance of hunting lease revenue associated with managing a forest property for wildlife benefits and its potential to offset lost timber revenue. The article provides a framework for landowners to estimate the economic tradeoffs of managing loblolly pine plantations in South Carolina for timber production versus a management regime that incorporates enhancing wildlife habitat in addition to timber production.
Their analysis shows that managing for loblolly pine timber only in South Carolina generated net present values of $209.50/ac, $250.95/ac, and $296.58/ac at low, medium, and high site qualities, respectively. Interestingly, joint management for timber and wildlife with a lease rate of $10/ac generated net present values of $294.03/ac, $337.63/ac, and $386.02/ac for the same low, medium, and high site qualities, respectively. The analysis proved that hunting leases provide revenue gain compared to timber-only management and a hedge against fluctuating timber prices. Using a reasonable hunting lease rate of $5.00 per acre, leasing a property managed for wildlife and timber can easily break even with and increase revenue over timber-only management.
Additionally, a hunting lease provides an annual income stream for landowners that may help to cover annual fixed management costs, such as taxes. Of course, the amount of money a landowner could charge for a hunting lease varies widely across the state. Factors that influence a hunting lease price include lease size, number of hunt lease members, presence of food plots, proximity to other private and public lands, and game quality. To set a lease price, a landowner will need to consider their particular property, amenities, and hunting conditions. Article link: https://lgpress.clemson.edu/publication/economic-implications-of-wildlife-considerations-in-timber-management/
Puskar Khanal, Cooperative Extension, Forestry and Wildlife Specialist
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