Global timber investments, 2005 to 2017
We estimated timber investment returns for 22 countries and 54 species/management regimes in 2017, for a range of global timber plantation species and countries at the stand level using capital budgeting criteria without land costs, at a real discount rate of 8%. Returns were estimated for the principal plantation countries in the Americas, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, Paraguay, Mexico, and the United States as well as New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, China, Vietnam, Laos, Spain, Finland, Poland, Scotland, and France. South American plantation growth rates and their concomitant returns were generally greater, at more than 12% Internal Rates of Return (IRRs), as were those in China, Vietnam, and Laos. These IRRs were followed by those for plantations in southern hemisphere countries of Australia and New Zealand and in Mexico, with IRRs around 8%. Temperate forest plantations in the U.S. and Europe returned less, from 4% to 8%, but those countries have less financial risk, better timber markets, and more infrastructure. Returns to most planted species in all countries except Asia have decreased from 2005 to 2017. If land costs were included in calculating the overall timberland investment returns, the IRRs would decrease from 3 three percentage points less for loblolly pine in the U.S. South to 8 percentage points less for eucalypts in Brazil.