The New York Times tells us about the biggest financial commitment in the Nature Conservancy’s history:

On Tuesday, the International Paper Company announced it would receive $300 million in a deal arranged by the Nature Conservancy and the Conservation Fund for 217,000 acres in 10 states around the Southeast.

Urban sprawl has reached a fever pitch in many parts of the country:

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If the 39,000 acres in the two tracts…near the Georgia border — were up for sale, Mr. Frampton predicted, it would be bought up instantly and subdivided into hunting clubs and hobby farms and eventually second-home communities. There are 100 golf courses in the Myrtle Beach area… and The Charleston Post recently reported that there were 134,000 building permits in Charleston County alone.

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I know an awful lot of people who own second homes (and one hobby ranch). After the novelty wears off, they rarely visit them more than two or three times a year. This is pretty typical in my experience. Visits drop until you finally sell it to the next dreamer. It’s analogous to purchasing a big boat. The two happiest days are the day you buy it and the day you sell it.

International Paper may be planning to sell all of its tree holdings. Forestland is now worth more to other parties than it is to them. To put this into perspective, although about a million acres have been sold to conservation organizations in the past two years, that still only represents about 2% of the lands coming on the market in the East.