Dave Nunes, president and CEO of Rayonier Inc. (NYSE: RYN), participated in a video interview at Nareit’s REITworld: 2022 Annual Conference held in San Francisco on Nov. 15-17.
Nunes said Rayonier is “very excited” about its recent acquisition of timberlands in Texas, Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana, a deal that is set to increase the REIT’s sustainable yield in the U.S. South by 11%. He noted that the soil in the area is very productive and the markets are strong, both factors contributing to why it’s an “outstanding property.”
“This [land] had an average age of 18 and a very high stocking level that translates to a much higher sustainable yield of 4.8 tons per acre, versus our legacy assets of 3.5 [tons per acre],” Nunes said.
Nunes also talked about Rayonier’s Land Resources team, which regularly seeks new opportunities to use the REIT’s land more efficiently, including for recreational opportunities and non-timber products that provide alternative energy sources.
“We have hunting and recreational leases…[and] a lot of other smaller scale leases that are just as important. They range from everything from minerals, [to] pine straw…[to] beekeeping,” he said. “We even have medicinal berries that come off of our lands that go into the pharmaceutical industry, and floral greens that get shipped all over the world.”
Nunes added that Rayonier also has solar, wind farm, cell tower, and billboard leases, and that when all of this additional business is added up, it covers the REIT’s property taxes and also contributes a meaningful part to its overall dividend.
Nunes also talked about how Rayonier’s experience in New Zealand and work with the native Maori people has influenced the company’s values when it comes to protection of its forests.
“There’s a term in New Zealand called kaitiakitanga, which translates to guardianship,” Nunes said. “[The spirit of forestry] is captured in that word and the meaning that is has, so I’ve always liked using that as a way to describe it.”