Who Will Own the Forest? 2019 Conference Highlights

You’re not in the timber business. You’re in the most-valuable-and-renewable-commodity-on-Earth business.

Eric Corey Freed
Crowded audience seated inside World Forestry Center for a presentation.

On Wednesday, September 18, World Forestry Center welcomed nearly 400 professionals to our Washington Park campus for the 15th annual Who Will Own the Forest? conference. 

This year, the two-day event began with its first-ever keynote address, sponsored by Freres Lumber. Eric Corey Freed, Founding Principal of organicARCHITECT and Sustainability Disruptor at Morrison Hershfield, offered his dynamic take on the risks and rewards of a timber future.

“You’re not in the timber business,” said Freed. “You’re in the most-valuable-and-renewable-commodity-on-Earth business.”

The program continued with sessions on the global megatrends influencing forestry, including climate change and shifting demographics. “Climate change presents new risks and opportunities for investors in forests,” said World Forestry Center Deputy Director Sara Wu. “These issues are only growing in importance.”

Another first was the session on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the forestry industry. The panel discussion, moderated by MaryKate Bullen, the Director of Sustainability & Communications at New Forests, included World Forestry Center Board Member Thomas RaShad Easley, Assistant Dean for Community and Inclusion at Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and Bettina von Hagen, CEOof EFM.

Thank you to everyone who made Who Will Own the Forest? possible, including this year’s Title Sponsors Farm CreditRoseburg, and Timberland Investment Resources.