Michael Ackerman of EcoForests (also known as Ecobosques ) made his position unmistakably clear at the recent Clean Energy Finance & Investment Summit 2010.

While this world-class event focused on clean energy, clean technology and attractive investments, Mr Ackerman’s presentation went a step further to establish timber as a distinct asset class in and of itself.

“The forestry industry represents a seriously undervalued opportunity for investment,” explained Mr Ackerman.

“As matters stand, sustainable harvesting practices in the world’s major timber producing economies cannot meet current demand.

“Forty-seven per cent of the world forests have been depleted, 32% are currently undergoing aggressive harvesting with little provision for replenishment, and only 21% percent remain intact.”

Mr Ackerman went on to cite compelling statistics discussed at the summit: “This conference delved into the sustainability of the energy sector. Today 28% of carbon emissions come from power companies. This makes power generation the leading pollutant in the world today.

“Deforestation has the dubious distinction of second place at 18% . A growing population combined with the transition from rural to more urban living, are predicted to result in a 50% increase in energy demands by 2030.”

Mr Ackerman discussed not only timber harvesting as a wise initiative from an environmental standpoint in the creation of sustainable plantation forests to feed demand for the commodity, but also from the perspective of a sound financial investment.