SINGAPORE (July 1): Tom Crowder spent much of his two-year career in the NFL running away from men who weighed upwards of 300 pounds. These days? He worries about bears and snakes. As a senior vice-president at Bank of America Corp, Crowder spends most days in the woods, from the evergreen forests of New England to the wetlands of the Carolinas, scouting US timberland assets for people with a net worth of at least US$100 million ($135 million) and a minimum of US$10 million to invest.

“Trees don’t move as fast as Pro Bowl linebackers,” Crowder says on a recent field trip to a client’s timber farm in South Carolina overlooking the alligator-populated Waccamaw River. As turtles sun themselves and wild turkeys roam, he recounts over a picnic lunch the “neat experience” of his stint as a wide receiver and safety for the Dallas Cowboys. After a busted jaw and emergency surgery, he was happy to go back to his roots, as a third-generation forester.

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