More than 70 woodland owners interested in the future health of forestland, biodiversity and the planet recently learned about sustainable woodland management at a daylong event hosted by the Rainforest Alliance and Domtar at our Kingsport Mill in Tennessee.
As more consumers of fiber-based products demand goods from well-managed forests, land certification becomes critical. Knowing that sustainable woodland management and land certification can be daunting, Domtar and the Rainforest Alliance joined forces to ease the burden on landowners.
“As we look to increase the supply of certified lumber for consumers and the industry as a whole, we understand that building strong partnerships with landowners is critical,” said Dan Persica, Domtar’s senior manager of sustainability communications. “We recognize that responsible woodland management comes with some burdens, so we are working to ease the transition in as many ways as possible for landowners.”
Working Together Toward Responsible Woodland Management
Domtar, the Rainforest Alliance and several leading forest products companies formed the Appalachian Woodlands Alliance (AWA) in 2015 to increase the stock of responsibly harvested wood. The collaboration also builds recognition for wood products from southern Appalachia, bringing a new revenue source to landowners, and it provides resources and tools to woodland owners so they can better manage their land.
Landowners working with AWA have access to resources that can help with the transition to responsible woodland management, a change that can result in sustained economic opportunities. The shift in management can also improve wildlife habitats; regenerate healthy, diverse trees; improve water quality protection; and maintain the beauty of the woods.
“AWA allows landowners to meet in a forum to discuss common goals and objectives, helping to dispel preconceived notions about the other parties in the room,” said Neal Kilgore, conservation easement manager for the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. “It helps create a fabric of trust that grows over time between landowners, environmental organizations and corporations to help all parties see the bigger picture for the future.”
Eighty-seven percent of forestland in the Southeastern United States is privately owned. Of this amount, two-thirds is held by individuals and families, and many of these landowners make at least part of their living off of the land, selling timber to help pay for their families’ needs. In fact, the Southeastern United States is the leading forest products-producing region in the world. The trees help produce pulp, paper, timber and furniture, as well as many other products that people use every day.
Watch this video to learn more about the work being done to advocate for responsible forestry in southern Appalachia from Michael Morris, the fiber procurement manager for our Kingsport Mill.