The West Atchafalaya River Timberlands property was purchased in May of 2017 from the combination of lands from the Roy O. Martin Company and the timber rights from Heartwood Forestland Fund VI, L.P. . The property has been in commercial timber production for several decades. The property is composed of bottomland hardwoods just west of the Atchafalaya River. Hunting rights are leased to private hunting clubs and there are currently 68 maintained hunting leases.
The West Atchafalaya River Timberlands (WART) property is comprised of numerous tracts distributed over 4 parishes in southeastern Louisiana. The tracts lie within an area bounded by Lafayette, Alexandria, and the Atchafalaya River. The major access routes are I-49, I-10, and US HWY 190.
The property was aptly named West Atchafalaya River Timberlands, as it is centered in the westernmost protection levee of the Atchafalaya Basin. The Atchafalaya Basin is a 135-mile long natural distributary of the Mississippi River that empties into the Gulf of Mexico and is the only growing delta in Louisiana. The Atchafalaya Basin contains the largest contiguous bottomland hardwood forest in North America.
Heartwood Forestland Fund VIII, L.P. (HFFVIII) purchased the land in May 2017 from Roy O. Martin Company (ROM). The timber on the land was subject to a 20 year long-term timber lease between ROM and Heartwood Forestland Fund VI, L.P. (HFFVI) that was entered into in April 2008. HFFVIII purchased the remaining timber rights from HFFVI during the land acquisition with ROM.
The WART property contains mixed species of hardwood generally found within the Mississippi and Red River alluvial floodplains and the Atchafalaya Basin. The properties were formed as a result of the sedimentation process of the river systems mentioned above. The red oak/sweetgum species composition is found on a majority of the acres with Cypress/Tupelo found in the flats.
The most numerous and dominant overstory species throughout the property are shade-intolerant red oak and sweet gum. Depending on the environment and stand conditions, other species can dominate such as green ash, bitter pecan, overcup oak, American elm, hackberry, and bald cypress. One of the primary management goals is to retain and promote the dominance of high value species such as red oak and sweet gum throughout the property.