DETROIT, Michigan - American Forest Foundation (AFF), International Paper, The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) and 3M Company announced the formation of the Carolinas Working Forest Conservation Collaborative a joint initiative in the Coastal Carolinas Plain to educate and engage family woodland owners in sustainable forestry, forest certification, the enhancement of habitat for at-risk species, and the conservation of bottomland hardwood forests.
"There is a misconception that you cannot have both paper products and habitat from the same forest, however we have found that wood and wildlife can go hand-in-hand when family woodland owners are sustainably managing, said Paul DeLong, Vice President of Conservation for AFF. "International Paper, P&G and 3M have all shown a great commitment to responsible forestry, making them strong partners in our efforts to increase the number of landowners actively managing their land for wildlife, while providing sustainably produced wood supplies."
Together, International Paper, P&G and 3M are providing a total of $285,000 over a three-year period to AFF in support of their work to implement sustained and strategic landowner engagement efforts in North Carolina, including Columbus, Bladen, Robeson, Cumberland, Pender, Johnston counties and South Carolina, including Horry, Florence, and surrounding counties.
"P&G is committed to sourcing 100% of our raw paper materials from responsibly managed forests," says Tonia Elrod, director of sustainability & product stewardship for P&G Family Care brands. "To help us meet this goal, it is important for us to invest in partnerships with likeminded companies to increase responsible forestry practices and landowner certification while allowing us to still deliver the same superior product experience our consumers expect."
The Carolinas Working Forests Conservation Collaborative aims to:
Increase awareness and understanding of the importance of sustainable forestry and active management among 30,000 woodland owners, who collectively own 2.4 million acres of forestland in the Carolina Coastal Plains region.
Work with at least 450 landowners across 36,500 acres in the project counties to connect them with technical assistance and resources to get them started in forest management.
Engage at least 160 woodland owners within the project area to enhance, restore or expand bottomland hardwood forests and quality habitat for at-risk species on at least 13,000 acres.
Certify at least 120 landowners in a recognized forest certification standard.
"At 3M, we drive both business growth and positive societal impact through purposeful partnerships," says Jean Bennington Sweeney, 3M's Chief Sustainability Officer. "We depend on committed landowners to provide sustainable, responsibly harvested wood fiber to our suppliers for products and packaging used in our brands like Post-it® Notes, Scotch® Tapes, FiltreteTM Filters, Scotch-Brite® Scrubbers and others. The sustainable practices this project enables will provide lasting benefits to landowners, forests, and our business."
Families and individuals own more than one-third of the forests across the U.S., which is more than corporations or the government. Across the South, 87 percent of family forest owners cite wildlife as a top reason they own land, yet most lack the technical skills and resources to manage. But those that do currently harvest or thin their forests are doing more for wildlife thanks to their relationships with foresters and other experts. Across the forest products supply chain, more than 50 percent of the wood supply comes from family-owned land.
"Our entire business depends on the sustainability of forests," said Sophie Beckham, International Paper Natural Capital Stewardship Manager. "We are thrilled to team up with organizations that share our goals in responsible forest management. Through this collaborative we will continue to promote responsible forest stewardship and ensure healthy and productive forest ecosystems for future generations."