Conservation Forestry Capital Fund IV half deployed – exclusive

New Hampshire-based Conservation Forestry raised $269m for its fourth fund, with European pensions playing a key role, according to chief operating officer Paul Young.

After closing its fourth fund above its $250 million target in October, Conservation Forestry has deployed half of the capital in four investments, Agri Investor has learned.

Chief operating officer Paul Young confirmed that Conservation Forestry Capital Fund IV, which launched in 2015, closed in October on $268.9 million.

The fund invests in timber and draws returns from conservation easements and other sustainability incentives by investing in coordination with conservation groups, Young said. By incorporating non-timber value through the firm’s work with conservation groups, Conservation Forestry is able to avoid the danger of overpaying for assets in a crowded market, he said.

Investments from Fund IV include a joint effort with The Conservation Fund on the June purchase of a property stretching across four states, which includes land devoted to the gopher tortoise that is currently protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The fund’s investors include family offices and Young said European pensions played a particularly important role. US public pensions were also among the investors in the fund, with commitments including $20 million from the New Mexico Educational Retirement Board in June.

Based in Exeter, New Hampshire, Conservation Forestry Capital has about $760 million in assets under management and a portfolio of 660,000 acres of timberland spread across 14 US states.The firm’s first fund raised $130 million, its second fund raised $358 million and its third fund closed on $243 million, according to Young.

Fund II produced a net IRR since inception of 5.45 percent as of September 2016, according to a NMERB real estate and natural resource portfolio review.