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    Pine Plantation Investment Calculator (PPIC)

    The PFMT’s Pine Plantation Investment Calculator (PPIC-example.xls) is an EXCEL spreadsheet that allows you to evaluate expected economic returns from establishment and management of pine plantations in the Southern US.

    To use the online version of the spreadsheet you must have Microsoft Internet Explorer version 4.01 or later and the Microsoft Office Web Components installed on your computer. Your browser will let you know if you do not have the minimum components to run the on-line spreadsheet and will direct you to the appropriate place on the Internet to download the necessary files. When using the on-line version, the width of the spreadsheet cannot be controlled and scrolling left and right may be required.

    There are two "Pages" of the spreadsheet. Page 1 is the main input Page. Information can be typed into the cells that are outlined in blue (the remainder of the cells are "protected" to protect calculation formulae; a "reminder" will be given if you attempt to type in a protected cell).

    Harvest Age

    You must enter a Harvest Age (rotation age). This age is used in the Net Present Value (NPV) and Internal Rate of Return (IRR) Calculations. This is the years FROM PLANTING that the plantation was or is expected to be harvested).

    Rates of Return

    The default real discount rate for calculating Net Present Value (NPV) is 8%. This is the rate of return you desire to earn on your investment in the pine plantation (inflation disregarded). If you were to make EXACTLY 8% during the rotation, the NPV would be $0 (and the Internal Rate of Return – IRR would be 8.00%). You would make 8%, no more, no less (therefore, an NPV of $0 is NOT bad). If NPV were greater than zero then you would make more than your desired interest rate (8% default) (rate is equal to the IRR, to be exact).

    You can change the real discount rate (inflation not accounted for) from 8% to any rate you wish by entering a whole or decimal number in the appropriate cell.

    The Internal Rate of Return (IRR) (%) is the real rate of interest you expect to earn based on the given or assumed (input) costs and incomes. The IRR can be used to compare returns from pine plantation management directly to other alternative investments, such as bank savings accounts, bonds, the stock market, etc. (inflation disregarded – this is a "real" interest rate).

    The economic analyses presented in the PPIC are for a SINGLE ROTATION ONLY. Multiple or perpetual rotations cannot be analyzed using this spreadsheet.


    Annual Costs & Incomes

    You can specify an Annual Fixed Cost (such as taxes, management fees, etc.) or Annual Fixed Income (such as hunting lease fees, etc.) that will or have occurred throughout the rotation and a Description for each. You can also type a Stand Identification that will help you remember which stand or condition you are evaluating. These annual costs or incomes will be applied each and every year from planting to final harvest. Other, non-recurring costs or incomes or those that may occur over only a portion of the rotation can be entered in the table on Page 2.

    Timber Sale Income

    You can enter income from timber sales (thinning or final harvest) in two ways (can do both for the same stand). If you know the number of tons by product and the price per ton for each product, you can enter these numbers at the appropriate age(s) on Page 1. Before entering numbers, define up to five product names near the top of Page 1. These product names will appear above the columns to aid you in entering the information correctly.

    Thinning and harvest information by product can be obtained from harvest records (if timber is sold by the unit and the landowner receives copies of the scale tickets from the delivery yard) or from a growth and yield model output (such as Yield and Economics of Loblolly Pine Plantations -- Effects of Various Management Regimes). If this information is available, enter the number of tons PER ACRE and price per ton for each age at which harvesting was done (or expected to be done). The spreadsheet will calculate the total dollar amount received per acre and transfer this information automatically to the Page 2 summary table.

    Check this information carefully to insure you have entered the information correctly.

    Lump Sum Timber Sales & Additional Costs & Incomes

    Page 2 of the spreadsheet allows entry of additional costs and income by age and calculates NPV and IRR. If you have only the "lump sum" or total value of a timber sale, this can be entered on Page 2 at the appropriate age.

    The top of the sheet is descriptive information transferred from Page 1. This area is protected and cannot be changed. To change this information, scroll back to the top of Page 1.

    Under the column labeled "Yearly Income or Cost Activity 1" you will see any information on harvesting that you entered on Page 1 (transferred automatically). You can enter additional costs such as Site Preparation, Seedlings and Planting, Herbaceous Weed Control, Prescribed Burning, etc. or income such as Lump Sum Sales, etc. in either of the "Activity" columns (1 or 2). Be sure not to type over information that was transferred automatically from Page 1. If the "Activity 1" cell is occupied for a particular year in which you have another cost or income, simply type that cost or income in the "Activity 2" column. If you have more than three entries for a year, you can combine two or more into the value for one column (best to combine costs or combine incomes).

    When entering this information be sure to enter COSTS as negative numbers. Type a "-" sign before typing a cost number. The entry should appear red in the cell and be enclosed in parentheses. When you see parentheses on the printed copy, this indicates a negative number. Income (positive) values can be typed with or without a "+" sign.

    Recurring payments (that are NOT included in the Annual Income value from Page 1) can be entered in the first year of occurrence, then copied and pasted into the appropriate years’ cells.

    When all of the information is entered, the spreadsheet will have estimated the Internal Rate of Return and the Net Present Value for the costs and incomes you have entered. If the IRR shows as an error, be sure that all costs were entered as negative numbers.

    Erroneous IRR and NPV values may show until ALL of the information is entered.


    The print area and pagination has already been set for EXCEL users. If the spreadsheet is converted to another spreadsheet, these settings may or may not hold. In EXCEL you can simply click on the Print icon, or click on File, Print to print the two pages.

    Changing the Spreadsheet

    All cells of the spreadsheet, except those allocated for entry, are protected. If you attempt to type in a protected cell, you will be notified. The spreadsheet is NOT password protected. You can remove the protection in EXCEL by selecting TOOLS, PROTECTION, and UNPROTECT SHEET. If you are familiar with spreadsheet programming, you are welcome to download the file and make modifications to suit your needs. It is requested that credit be given to the PFMT as the source of the spreadsheet. Users are responsible for any changes made to the spreadsheet.

    If you are not comfortable with spreadsheet programming, it is recommended you NOT attempt to modify the program. It is very easy to make modifications that could result in erroneous values and incorrect decisions.

    Other Related Uses

    Any forestry investment that results in a cost and income stream over a specified time period ("rotation") can be evaluated using the PPIC spreadsheet by entering appropriate numbers on Page 2. Caution should used, however, in using the spreadsheet for purposes other than intended. Amortization and depreciation are not included in the analysis that might be important in some analyses.


    The PPIC spreadsheet is a tool intended for use by individuals in making decisions about investments in pine plantation establishment and management. Reasonable caution has been taken to insure the spreadsheet calculates and performs correctly and presents results as described. The author, PFMT, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University and it employees, and financial supporters of the PFMT shall not be held responsible for errors in programming or for decisions made based on results of this spreadsheet. Decisions should not be made solely based on results of this analysis. It is recommended that a professional forester be consulted before making a decision that would incur substantial cost or effort.