New Short Course on Timberland Investments to be Offered March 27-28

February 16, 2014

Tim Lucas, 919-613-8084,

DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke Environmental Leadership (DEL) Executive Education program will offer a two-day course, “Timberland Investments for Professionals,” on March 27-28 at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

The new course, which is part of a larger Forest Finance Initiative now being developed at the Nicholas School, is designed to provide financial professionals with the fundamental skills and knowledge needed to analyze potential timberland investments in the wake of sweeping changes taking place in private forest management in recent decades.

It will provide intensive instruction on a wide range of issues critical to making sound investment decisions. These include key forest-products sector trends; investment fund structuring; income opportunities through ecological services; international opportunities; structuring conservation easements; how to value timberland; risk management; financial reporting; and income-tax considerations.

The course will be led by F. Christian Zinkhan, managing director of The Forestland Group. It will feature guest lectures and panel discussions by timberland investment managers, attorneys and Duke researchers, as well as professional networking opportunities, a chance to interact with current Duke graduate students, and a field trip to the 7,000-acre Duke Forest.

Jeffrey R. Vincent, the Clarence F. Korstian Professor of Forest Economics and Management at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, will serve as faculty advisor.

“Private forests increasingly are managed by timber investment management organizations (TIMOs), real estate investment trusts (REITs) and land trusts, and conservation organizations are increasingly using markets to achieve their forest conservation goals,” Zinkhan says. “The business models of many of these groups reflect a broad concept of forest finance that includes returns from the full range of forest values, including but not limited to timber.”

“These shifts have created global demand for individuals who possess strong knowledge and acumen, not only in forest management and economics, but also financial analysis,” says Vincent. “Our course addresses both of these skill sets.”

Cost for the course is $1,250 if you register before March 6. After March 6, the cost is $1,500.

For detailed course information or to register, go to

The new course qualifies for continuing education credits for various professional industries. Members of the Society of American Foresters (SAF CFEs), certified public accountants (CPA CPEs), certified financial planners (CFP Board Cs), attorneys and educators can contact the DEL program for more information.

Zinkhan earned his Master of Forestry and Master of Business Administration degrees from Duke in 1981.