The short-stick on timber is that, as an investment class, wooded lands grew well through recent decades — but timber has been trimmed in the ongoing commodities slump.
The rough-cut between the past and present sets up an investment question topical, timely and present, and yet classic: Should advisers direct clients into assets when the chips are down, or wait until there is a clearing in the financial thickets that comfortably affords a longer view?
For now, only the intrepid may wish to tread into timberlands cash in hand. Indeed, hardly a day goes by that one China-watcher or another does not predict a Sino doomsday, entailing yet another extended commodities slide. Meanwhile, newsprint-demand in the developed world has been dying for a generation, and the lumber-using U.S. residential construction market is still a shadow of the 2008 pre-bust days, though growing.
Given such an outlook, timberlands have actually fared better than might be exp