[Photo: Jon M. Fletcher]
Arrayed in row after row of tall, skinny slash pines, vast tracts of timberland have dominated the triangle between Jacksonville, Lake City and Gainesville for more than a hundred years. The landowners, dating back to the Owens-Illinois and Georgia Pacific forest-product companies, kept the area rural by keeping it in trees.
Today, these tracts are owned by Seattle-based Plum Creek Timber. The publicly held real estate investment trust entered Florida in 2001, when it merged with Georgia-Pacific's Timber Co. Plum Creek — with 590,000 acres stretching into 22 of the state's 67 counties — crowns Florida Trend's list of the top 10 private landowners in Florida.
Combined, the 10 companies own more than 5,000 square miles of Florida — roughly a tenth of the state's total land area. The large privately owned swaths are vital to Florida's future — from their environmental importance for protecting the state's freshwater resources and wildlife habitats to their economic significance for preserving agriculture and developing new business sectors.
» Go to article: Florida's Biggest Private Land Owners
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