Documenting Forest Ownership in Oregon
Our first Wall Street Forestry project documented forest ownership in Western Oregon. The cost of data was bearable but data analysis took a large amount of staff time. We wanted to know how much of the current forest ownership was in the hands of large corporations and whether those corporate owners had become new tax avoiding Timber Investor Management Organizations (TIMOs) or Real Estate Investment trusts (REITs).
We acquired all real property records for Western Oregon (Cascade crest to the coast) and built a geodatabase. Using geographic information software (GIS) we deleted all parcels in Urban Growth Boundaries (UGB). This resulted in approximately 550,000 real property records. Next, we coded all parcels according to one of five ownership categories:
- Wall Street Forest Ownership: TIMOs, REITS and investor LLCs. (Red color)
- Traditional Corporate Forest Owners. (Orange color)
- Public Lands: All local, state and federal ownerships. (Green color)
- General Use: Rural residential, farms, small forest owners, etc. (Grey color)
- Tribal Lands. (Purple color)
After coding all parcels, it was just a matter of assigning the above colors to each category. The deleted urban areas were colored black.