Monday, August 18, 2008

Foreign Ownership of Forestland on the Increase, But Not in Virginia

Thanks to Brian Fiacco and his post on the Timberland Blog for informing me of this data source on foreign land ownership in the United States. The Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act of 1978 requires all foreign owners to report any transactions of agricultural and forest lands within the United States. A recent report by the Farm Service Agency shows an increase of foreign forestland ownership from just over 7 million acres in 1997 to approximately 13.5 million acres in 2007. (See Figure 3 from the report.)

Much of the increase can be attributed to land sales by forest product companies to a handful of buyers from Canada (2.8 million acres in Maine) and the Netherlands (3.3 million acres in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas).

Virginia has not participated in this trend of increasing foreign forest ownership. Reported foreign ownership in Virginia declined slightly from 139,000 acres in 1997 to 116,000 acres in 2007. In 2007, 60,230 of the 116,000 acres were reported as forest land. Only 5 counties (Albemarle, Botetourt, Loudoun, Patrick and Tazewell) had more than 2,000 acres of foreign forest ownership reported.

A map from the report (Figure 2) shows the distribution of all foreign-owned agricultural and forest land by state.

1 comment:

Treeguy said...

As a forester, realtor and owner of the land sale site Land Incorporated at I can say we have seen a recent surge of foreign buyers seeking US rural land. This may be in part due to the cmistaken indea that the land is being sold on the cheap in this down market. Hoowever land values have not fallen in link with home values.

Land For Sale