Who Will Own the Forest? Brings Leaders in Timberland Investing Together Virtually


Breakout Sessions



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For the second year in a row, World Forestry Center’s signature timberland investing conference went virtual. Starting on October 6, two-hour, live-streamed episodes premiered each Wednesday and continued through the end of the month. Like last year, the virtual episodes included pre-recorded speaker panels, live Q&As, and multiple breakout sessions.

This year’s conference featured keynote panels on carbon, Mass Timber, ESG investing, and African-American land ownership.

“Over the past 20-years, we’ve continued to expand the topics we explore at Who Will Own the Forest?,” said Professional Programs Director, Sara Wu. “We want to create a vibrant conversation around Timberland investing – while also sharing new ideas with our audience.”

Including breakout session hosts, the conference featured 35 leading voices in timberland investing, forestry, natural resource management, and more.

Despite the success of a second virtual conference, hopes are high for an in-person event next year. “We hope to see you all in Portland next year for Who Will Own the Forest? 2022,” said Executive Director, Joe Furia, in his closing remarks.

Below is a selection of highlights and reviews from this year’s event.

“Just think, in the past 12 months, about some of the things that we’ve seen change on our planet…if this continues, it’s really a wake-up call…. A call to all of us to do something about it…. It’s a great time to really focus on sustainability, and the timber sector is such a big force in sustainability.”

— Karim Khalifa, Sidewalk Labs, Episode 4 Speaker

“The data suggests that there are some 3.5 million acres of heirs property owned in the US South, which is assessed at $28 billion. I should say all caps, $28 BILLION…so there’s a lot of wealth that is at risk.”

— Mavis Gragg, American Forest Foundation, Episode 2 Moderator

“I think there are plenty of astute investors out there who see the writing on the wall going forward that there are even more untapped environmental assets that reside in the forests…forestry is a natural source for those benefits.”

— Tracy Buran Evens, TimberLink, Episode 1 Speaker & Breakout Host

“We have a tremendous opportunity to think about carbon capture from what is probably our most abundant managed forest resource.”

— Jim Hourdequin, The Lyme Timber Company, Episode 3 Speaker

“As your companies or your consulting organizations or your agencies are working on things, make it a point to reach out to the African American-led communities, ask their advice, understand their problems…. Bring them in
as full partners and you’ll find that … they [have an] ability to tell compelling stories to urban audiences who may not understand the importance of (forests).”

— Tom Martin, American Forest Foundation, Episode 2 Speaker

“It’s been very important for us to take an approach where we spend a lot of time and effort engaging with local communities, to create a process of trust…and even undertake efforts to give land back….that’s ultimately my view as to what creates that social license to operate.”

— Radha Kuppalli, New Forests, Episode 3 Speaker

“Such an exceptional conference. Truly top-notch! I am already looking forward to the upcoming 2022 event.”

— Richard W. Hall, Buckhead Resources, Breakout Host