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Weyerhaeuser (NYSE:WY) is now a Real Estate Investment Trust. This represents a major step forward by the REIT industry, because it's so far the biggest, previously established and publicly traded company, brand name company to switch from corporation statue to become a REIT. 2010 represented its first tax year as a REIT.

The difference for shareholders is significant. Prior to becoming a REIT, the company was paying 5 cents per share. In December 2010 they announced they anticipated being able to pay 15 cents per share beginning March 2011. This was confirmed with a press release February 10, 2011 although in the Investor section of their website they list that payment as still only 5 cents per share.

Weyerhaeuser is a timber company founded in 1900 by Fredrick Weyerhaeuser. It had three employees and 900,000 acres of raw timberland. It now has 6 million acres of land where it grows, manages and harvests timber. It's well-known for making wood and cellulose fiber products (some used in making diapers, for example), and for building houses.

Weyerhaeuser Businesses Include:

Camberley Homes, Cellulose Fibers, Forest Reserve Homesites, Hardwoods, iLevel, Liquid Packaging, Lyptus Hardwood Products, Maracay Homes, Minerals, Newsprint & Specialty Papers, Pardee Homes, Quadrant Homes, Seedling Sales, Surplus Industrial Property, Timberlands, Trendmaker Homes, Westwood Shipping Lines, Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company, Weyerhaeuser Realty Investors, and Winchester Homes.

Weyerhaeuser has owned paper and paperboard container businesses, but divested itself of them a few years ago. As a REIT, they may not receive more than 25% of their income from non-qualified sources. They must come from taxable REIT subsidiaries. "Qualified" means from operating as a real estate -- not paper -- company. This meant focusing more on their core business of timber, not its byproducts.

WY's headquarters are in Federal Way, Washington State and it operates in ten countries, including Canada, Uruguay, Brazil, Switzerland, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Belgium and China. Dan Fulton is Chief Executive Officer.

Weyerhaeuser's Products Include:

Abalon Beech, Acreage, Beam and Joist Connectors, Bleached board for liquid StructurePak™, Book Publishing Papers, Nature Calendars, Camberley Homes®, CedarOne® Decking, Landscapes, Siding and Trim, and Timbers; Chips, Comparis™ Software, Conbulkers, Eastbound Shipping, Engineered fiber, Eucalyptus Plywood, Forte™ Software, Framer Series™ Lumber, Green Studs, Groundwood Forms, Groundwood Rotogravure, Hi-Brite Printing Norbrite® Grades, iLevel Edge Gold® Panels, iLevel Edge® Panels, iLevel® RBS Sheathing, iLevel® Shear Brace, iLevel® stair treads, Jarrah Lumber, Javelin® Software, Kiln-dried Hardwoods, Liquid packaging board, Logs, Low pH fluff, Lumin™ Plywood, Lyptus® Engineered Hardwood Flooring, Lyptus® Hardwood Products, Lyptus® Solid Hardwood Flooring, MSR/MEL Lumber, Maracay Homes®, Matrix™ pulp, Meltblown Lyocell, Microllam® LVL Beams, Microllam® LVL Beams, Microllam® LVL Headers, Mineral Resources, Newsprint, NextPhase™ Site Solutions, Norbrite® Printing Grades paper, Northern Kraft Softwood, Northwest Hardwoods®, Northwest Landing®, Pallet stock, Parallam® PSL Beams and Columns, Pardee Homes®, Peach® 426, Pearl® 428, Pearl® 429, Plywood hardwood, Plywood roofs, Plywood walls, Premium™ Joists, Pro Series™ Lumber, Publication Papers for Japan, Publishing Papers, Quadrant Homes, Redmond Ridge™, Roof Sheathing, Seed (Weyerhaeuser Select), Seedlings, Snoqualmie Ridge®, Softwood Lumber, Southern Kraft Softwood, StructurePak®, StructureServ®, Super- and ultra-lightweight newsprint, Super-Brite Printing Grades (Norbrite® paper), Surplus Industrial Properties, Thinflex®, TimberStrand® LSL beams, headers, rim board, roof framing, stair stringer, tall walls, treated still plate and wall framing; TJ-Beam® Software, TJI® Joists, TJ-Pro™ Rating System, Treated fluff products, Trendmaker Homes®, Untreated fluff products, Vessels for forest products and oversized cargo, Wall Sheathing, Westbound Shipping, Western Hemlock, Weyerhaeuser Realty Investors® Services, Weyerhaeuser Select Douglas Fir Seed, Winchester Homes®, and Zone Framing.

The timber business is not generally seen as "eco-friendly," but Weyerhauser has lead the way in developing sustainability. In 2005 they were listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index - North America (DJSI-NA). And it's been reducing is carbon emissions.

In 2009 in the United States their clearcut averaged 88.3 acres. They replanted these areas with seedlings. 74% are replanted within one year of harvesting, 97.8% within two years. They plant more than 100 million seedlings every year.

Transforming Weyerhaeuser from a corporation into a Real Estate Investment Trust was a major step toward increasing the acceptance of REITs by institutions and investors.

Next: Hudson Pacific Properties -- offices and entertainment facilities in California.

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