I am starting to understand why so many Ivy League endowments invested in forest land. It is part of a cap and trade carbon economy where they will theoretically get rich from payments not to cut down trees. Very politically correct and Owl Gore-ish.
In the short run, these universities are losing on this investment -- and I suspect there will be other complications until such time as someone actually invents a true green cheap energy source that doesn't need a federal subsidy from fired employees' taxes or entrepeneurs who go "John Galt lite" and shut down half their businesses to minimize their expenses in life. See this Yahoo Finance article below on Cap and Trade, "Winners and losers emerge in climate bill."
Owners of large tracts of forest land also will get a lot of interest from the business community. Like farmers, environmental experts see them as a huge player in the carbon economy because of their natural ability to absorb carbon.
Louis Blumberg, director of climate change for the Nature Conservancy's California chapter, envisions a system in which forest owners could make money simply by signing an agreement to cut down fewer trees for lumber.
The Nature Conservancy did just that last year with the Conservation Fund, a nonprofit agency that owns about 24,000 acres of redwood and douglas fir forest northwest of San Francisco. The groups changed the logging schedule on the property, and the fund expects to receive about $2 million from Pacific Gas and Electric, which participates in a regional climate initiative similar to the one that the Waxman-Markey bill would create around the country.