The transformation of timberland ownership and markets in North America

The transformation of timberland ownership and markets in North AmericaIt’s not every day I get to hear one of America’s top forest industry CEOs speak on the global state of our industry. Mike Covey, CEO of Potlatch Corporation, recently spent the day in Missoula meeting with University of Montana College of Forestry and business students, faculty, and community members, then concluded his day with an hour-long lecture to over 200 folks on “The Transformation of Timberland Ownership and Markets in North America.”

In his presentation, Mike addresses why timber companies are becoming real estate investment trusts and how a global economy affects the U.S. lumber, timber, and log markets. While the U.S. will probably build some 5-7 million homes over the next five years, China has mandated close to 35 million. Where will they get their building products? A lot of it will come from North America. (By the way, companies looking to diversify their markets through exports will certainly benefit from presentations at the SmallWood Conference this June.)

The University of Montana’s video staff did a great job of filming Mike’s speech and I think you will enjoy watching his one-hour presentation and Q&A from the audience.


Craig Rawlings

Craig Rawlings is the president & CEO of Forest Business Network and has 30 years experience in the forest products industry as an entrepreneur and technical consultant. He can be reached by calling 406.240.0300 or by using our contact form.


  1. Bryan Andrina says

    Thanks for posting Craig. What an interesting presentation and great speaker. The wood product industry’s ability to adapt and change to current market demands and trends will be a never ending endeavor. It’s quite entertaining to think about the shift from what started long ago as large diameter white pine logs blazed with “the kings broad arrow” to now, wood pellets smaller than my pinky being shipped across seas.

  2. Craig Rawlings says

    Thanks Bryan, even though I was present when Mike made his presentation, I watched the video too.

  3. R Darwin Inskeep (darwinIam) says

    Back in the early ’70s, the PotlatCH creed was for aspenite from the aspen sileage near Cloquet, however the glue process was the key. The rest of the story evolved into OSB and EWP’s “waybak” beyond our ISU research (piddlin’with bark products, etc). To think they were spun-off (gov’t, like GP/LP) from WeYerhaeuser needlessly (I thought), but what a combo in research and lands they could have been. Being a distributor for your 3X,4X 6 & wdr Glue-Lam Potlatch products as well, showed their foresight and innovation. Comment Covey??

    Disclosure: I own PCH

  4. jack mahon says

    Sad to say, I go back to the unreasonable tax structure that has caused Weyerhaeuser Co., Potlatch Co., Plum Creek, Boise Cascade and others to put much of their forest lands into Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) and take them out of commercial forest production. I say sad (and short sighted) because the USA has the most extensive and productive conifer forests in world.