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Discount Rates for Nonindustrial Private Forest Landowners in Mississippi: How High a Hurdle?

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Mississippi forest landowners were surveyed to determine average discount rates or “hurdle rates”—the lowest rates of return they consider acceptable—for 3 nonforestry investments, and for 5, 15, and 25 yr forestry investments. The survey included 829 individuals who owned at least 20 ac of uncultivated land and had harvested timber during a recent 5 yr period; survey results are therefore oriented toward commercially active forest landowners. On average, the private nonindustrial forest landowners included in the survey expect timberland investments to earn higher rates of compound interest than relatively low-risk bank savings accounts and certificates of deposit. Relatively short-term (5 yr) timberland investments, however, have lower minimum rates of return than stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. With forestry investments, all else equal, Mississippi nonindustrial private forest landowners prefer shorter time periods—average hurdle rates in nominal terms before taxes were 8.0% for forestry investments lasting 5 yr, 11.3% for those lasting 15 yr, and 13.1% for those lasting 25 yr. Household income significantly influenced the lowest rate of return considered acceptable for 5 yr forestry investments—the rate was 9% for landowners with annual incomes above $50,000 and 7.4% for landowners with annual incomes below $50,000. On a hurdle rate basis, higher income private landowners in Mississippi generally find forestry investments lasting 15 yr to be competitive with stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. However, Mississippi landowners' 13.1% required rate of return for 25 yr forestry investments was higher than the rate considered acceptable for the other investments included in the survey. Reforestation tax incentives, cost-shares, and related public policies that reduce the front-end costs incurred by NIPF landowners tend to increase the projected rate of return for relatively long-term reforestation investments. South. J. Appl. For. 26(1):26–31.
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Keywords: Discount rates; NIPF; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; hurdle rates; interest rates; investments; natural resource management; natural resources; nonindustrial

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: Department of Forestry, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Box 9681 MS, 39762-9681 2: Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Box 5287 MS, 39762-5287

Publication date: 2002-02-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Southern Journal of Applied Forestry covers an area from Virginia and Kentucky south to as far west as Oklahoma and east Texas.
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