I own stock, I own timberland. Each provides an economic return that is somewhat comparable to the other. Sophisticated analysts compare the two asset classes to determine which is actually best. In the end, I think timberland usually wins the contest by a small amount.
When I get up in the morning, I have my coffee and then head out the door with Sophie. About four steps from the door I am walking in the woods and enjoying the marginal return that comes from a direct investment in timberland. Sophie has me by the cuff dragging me down the slope to see if we will see ducks, geese, a Great Blue Heron or maybe even an otter if we're lucky.
She runs as fast as she can go, stops abruptly, and then freezes into that handsome pose of a pointer.
The individual investor is sometimes at a disadvantage to the institutional investor when it comes to buying and owning timberland. Economies of scale make it more economical to both purchase and manage large tracts. Yet when the pension fund manager is working diligently balancing the portfolio for the funds clients, the owners of the Family Forest can be balancing on a log crossing the creek.
Sophie breaks her point, flushes three wild turkeys, my heart races and the marginal return jumps a point! It all evens out. --Brian