As we were discussing in forest management this week, forests, both natural and plantations, are very stable, safe investments. The probability of damage from fire, insects, or weather is actually quite low when you consider forests as a whole.
But when damage occurs it can be catastrophic. Here is a quote on the recent storm damage in Sweden:
"About 12 million cubic metres have been estimated to be damaged in the recent storm that swept southern Sweden 14 January. Next to the storm “Gudrun” two years ago this is the most severe storm since 1969. Much of the storm-felled trees are within areas that already have a high risk of large-scale outbreak of the European Spruce bark beetle."
Here is the link to the article: http://www.nordicforestry.org/article.asp?Data_ID_Article=2263&Data_ID_Channel=33
The damage in Germany is equally serious: "
Forestry officials said the hurricane that tore through Germany killing 11 people last week also knocked down 40 million trees. The damage was expected to cost the industry dearly." http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,2323760,00.htmlSo, forests are usually safe, but when something bad happens it can be very bad.
Thanks to Eggers Thies (Sweden information) and David South (Germany information) for these leads