|Over the last twenty years, the forest products industry has sold much of its land base
throughout the U.S. The majority of that land is being transferred from corporations in what was
a traditional vertically-integrated industry to new corporate owners in the form of timber
investment management organizations (TIMOs) and real estate investment trusts (REITs). A
smaller portion has transferred to the public, non-governmental organizations (NGO), non-
industrial private forest (NIPF) owners, and to privately-held and vertically-integrated
corporations in the forest products industry. By controlling management of the forest, these new
owners will directly impact ecosystems, economics, and society. Previous research has focused
on national or regional trends, overlooking the major impact this development will have locally.
In this study, timberland ownership change was mapped in five counties in southwest Alabama
where timber production is concentrated. First, new owners were identified and organized
according to ownership type and location, either absentee or local. Second, maps of new owners
were analyzed to determine what variables influenced each class and where impacts of this
change might be concentrated. Findings provide insight into the local effects of timberland
ownership change and how those influence and interact on a regional scale.