When the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) was founded in 1973, approximately 1.5 million wild turkeys were living in North America. Thanks to NWTF’s work to promote sustainable forest management and science-based wildlife habitat conservation, North America now has a population of 7 million wild turkeys.
Today, the NWTF is working to raise $1.2 billion to conserve or enhance more than 4 million acres of wildlife habitat through its Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. program, founded in 2013, and Domtar is helping to spread the word.
The goal is to recruit 1.5 million hunters, who will help pay for 80 percent of wildlife habitat conservation through excise taxes on guns, ammunition and more. These hunters value the recreational opportunities that sustainably managed forests provide. As of 2016, the NWTF project has conserved or enhanced more than 1.7 million acres of forestland.
Both the NWTF and Domtar have a strong commitment to responsible forest management and thoughtful conservation. Sustainable forest management requires the thinning of tree stands to create open areas while also maintaining older, denser canopies in other areas. Diversity of wildlife habitat helps ensure ample food supply for wildlife and increase species’ ability to mate and thrive.
Recently, the NWTF joined with natural resources professionals, agencies and associations to present a two-part television series focusing on sustainable forest management. The series aired this fall on Pursuit Channel, which features hunting, fishing, shooting and outdoor recreation programming.
The first episode, which was funded in part by Domtar, highlights the importance of active forest management, including its economic, social and environmental benefits. The second episode features John Burch Jr., 2015 Tennessee Tree Farmer of the Year, and his family’s work to responsibly manage their land.
Domtar, a leading advocate of sustainable forest management, shares NWTF’s vision and partners with nongovernment agencies, environmental advocates and corporations to work with private landowners to improve land management and to provide training and support.
For example, we developed the Sustainable Forestry Principles as a guide to help safeguard endangered forests and and protect wildlife habitat. We are working to increase the supply of certified fiber through multiple programs. And we helped develop the Four States Timberland Owners Association and Appalachian Woodlands Alliance to promote certification and sustainable forestry.
“Sustainability, to me, means looking at the forest for all of its values, for each individual landowner,” Kain said. “Every landowner has their own objectives. As a forester, we think in 50- to 100-year blocks of time. We need to have those products available — not only today, but at the end of our career and at the end of the next forester’s career.”
To hear more from Kain on the importance of responsible forestry practices and wildlife habitat conservation, watch “Tennessee’s Private Forests.”