As a background I'm almost completely invested in indexes with just a smattering of left over stocks that I should really clean up and some ESPP stock that will get sold when the tax holding period is over. I am diversified outside of the US with the EAFE and emerging markets. I'm looking to add some international value over the next few years too.
That out of the way what am I considering? I do like the idea of commodities and I have been thinking about timber. There appear to be a number of different direct and indirect partnerships available. The two most common seem to be Central American teak partnerships and New Zealand pine. Some of these seem legitimate and some have me hearing "Danger, Danger Will Robinson".
The return period for this type of investment is about 20-30 years. Some have no return until the harvest and some (generally the teak investments) provide some return on the way from the sale of not fully mature trees that were culled. There appear to be no taxes due on any of this until you actually realize income from the sale of the timber.
Which if any of these is worth investing in? I don't know, yet. I'm looking into it but I'm not planning to invest in it if at all until this time next year. The big question is am I able to tell which is legitimate and which is not? Particularly at a distance? This issue alone pushes me more to consider the New Zealand timber investments if any.
Some links to get started: