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Acres Of Opportunity

Rayonier is built upon our ability to grow and manage a healthy, abundant renewable resource: trees. We maximize yields on our more than 2.8 million acres of timberland thanks to our advanced silviculture practices, research, industry-leading tree genetics and the passion of our people deploying market driven precision silviculture.

It takes more than trees to deliver the wood products our world needs. From the decades of research behind each seed we produce, to the layers of data and expertise that go into choosing how to nurture each stand of trees, we constantly seek opportunities to do more for you with our resources.

Year 0
Research and Breeding
Years 1/2 to 2
Seedling Nursery
Year 1
Site Preparation and Planting
Year 1 to Harvest Age
Maintaining the Forest
Year 12 to 15
Tree Thinning
Year 20 to 40
Note: This is an approximate timeline of a typical Rayonier tree plantation.
  • Research and Breeding - 0 Years

    As one of America’s only public timber companies with its own research team, we place top-performing trees in designated seed-producing orchards. They're planted far apart (with about 10 times more space than our plantation pines), which gives them room to produce the maximum number of seed-bearing pine cones. Our foresters use practices like controlled pollination, which creates ​superior seeds by ensuring both parents are exceptional. This helps future forests not only grow at a faster pace, but also resist disease and be more inclined to grow straight without forking. Rayonier researchers provide tens of millions of seeds for our future forests every year.

  • Seedling Nursery - 0 to 1/2 Years

    Our seedling nursery in Elberta, Alabama, is home to some of the best soils for growing pine seedlings in the U.S. South. Here, we grow more than 70 percent of the trees planted on Rayonier land. Local soil has a layer of fine sand, ideal for producing a robust root system, and a layer of clay that holds water well, ensuring a healthy start for seedlings. After about 7 months of growing in the nursery, the seedlings are ready to be shipped to forests throughout our ownership. Each species is delivered to the specific region where it performs best. Since their inception in 1957, our nurseries have produced more than one billion seedlings!

    To learn more about the seedling nursery and take our virtual tour, visit

  • Site Preparation and Planting - Year 1

    After a fully matured forest has been harvested, preparations begin for a new generation of trees that will ​meet the needs of your children and grandchildren decades from now. We use various methods to prepare and plant sites throughout our ownership. In Northeast Florida, for example, a tractor mounds the top six inches of soil — the ​most productive​ soil — into rows for our trees. A tractor also aids in the planting of seedlings. In other areas, like the mountains of New Zealand or the Pacific Northwest, we plant our trees by hand without the aid of a machine on the steep terrain. Whatever the planting method, all of our foresters carefully design each stand by choosing the right species, row spacing and interval to ensure the best use of every acre.

  • Maintaining the Forest - 1 Year to Harvest Age

    Just as we need the right tree on the right land, we also need the right treatment plan. If every tree was nurtured the same way, a lot of money would be spent with very mixed results. That’s where foresters come in. They determine what each stand of trees needs by using a mix of old fashioned techniques performed in the forest and modern techniques that rely on our vast internal mapping and data system, drone technology, LiDAR and other cutting-edge tools. These tools also serve in inventory analysis, which allows us to anticipate the wood our forests will yield decades in advance.

  • Tree Thinning - 12 to 15 years

    As the forest matures to about 12 to 15 years old, the once perfect spacing designed at planting becomes too crowded. Our foresters use a technique called thinning to carefully harvest specific rows of trees and poor​er​-performing trees. This gives the remaining trees room to grow into larger trees that will fulfill demands for sawtimber, used in important products like lumber, plywood and poles. Meanwhile, the trees that are removed in the thinning are generally used in pulp production, which is needed to make paper and boxes ​as well as cellulose fibers used in everyday items, such as plastics, textiles, paints, tires, diapers and many other products.

  • Harvest - 20 to 40 years

    Once trees are fully grown, it’s time to harvest. Depending on the species and location, the ideal age varies from the early- to late-20s in the U.S. South and New Zealand, to 35-40 years in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Harvest schedules are carefully planned to ensure a sustainable yield of wood, which means we will be able to keep producing a relatively steady amount of wood each year. Different locations use different machinery to harvest trees, ranging from cutting down trees by hand with chainsaws to using high tech computer-enabled, unmanned equipment. The trees are then loaded into a truck to be transported to a mill or put onto a ship to be taken to another part of the world.

  • Products

    Once they’re harvested, our trees have an important job to do. The largest, straightest trees typically become utility poles! Many more are cut into boards for building projects. The smallest trees are destined to be turned into pulp, which can be used for paper products​, consumer packaging, cardboard boxes​, or a cellulose material used in thousands of everyday products. Wood has played an important role in our everyday lives all through history, even as our needs have changed. It’s exciting to wonder what new products the trees we plant today may play a role in when they’re fully grown.

Did you know?

Wood Makes it Possible

Did you know wood is in thousands of products we use every day? It's in the obvious places, like the frames of our houses, but it's also where you would least expect it, like tires in our cars and bicycles; LCD screens; and bath products like shampoo and toothpaste. Imagine how many conveniences wood makes possible in your life!

Learn more about Rayonier Forestry

As our slogan goes, Rayonier Forestry is so much More than trees! Come along with our foresters as they share how we manage our forests, protect wildlife and the environment, and plan for the future.

Putting our Rayonier interns in the center of the action

Rayonier’s 2023 summer college interns share what their experiences were like in forestry and non-forestry roles. Not every intern gets to present ideas to the senior leadership team of a publicly traded company—but at Rayonier, they do. Rayonier offers internships across our ownership in the United States for both forestry and non-forestry roles. We treat...

Climate Smart Forestry: Is Forest Management a Climate and Carbon Solution?

Climate smart forestry practices amplify the protective role the forest plays in the environment, providing a natural solution to combat climate change. Learn what climate smart forestry is about and see some of the climate smart strategies Rayonier is implementing across its ownership. Rayonier has been in the sustainable forestry business for almost 100 years—that’s...

A Day in the Life of a Forestry Leader: Phillip Smith (Alabama, USA)

For nearly 30 years, Phillip Smith has spent his career with Rayonier, rising from an entry-level forester to the leader of our entire Alabama team. He shares the story of his road to success as we spend a day in the life with this Rayonier leader. Phillip Smith thought Rayonier would be a quick stop...

Tracie Gibbs Brings New Perspective to Forestry Safety

Rayonier’s Director of Safety shares how she developed her passion for safety and the unconventional approach she takes to moving safety forward not just for Rayonier, but for our entire industry. When Tracie Gibbs was five years old, her dad introduced her to the thrill of professional racing and gave her the first glimpse of...

At every stage in the lifecycles of our trees, we take careful measures to ensure the sustainability of our forests and the wildlife, soils and water within them.