Eight major forest products companies in North Carolina have joined with the North Carolina Forest Service and the American Tree Farm System® (ATFS, a program of the American Forest Foundation) in a major outreach effort to expand the amount of ATFS-certified forest acreage in the state.
The partnership involves Domtar Corporation, Enviva, H.W. Culp Lumber Co., KapStone Paper and Packaging, Louisiana Pacific, Resolute Forest Products, RockTenn and Weyerhaeuser Company. All of the companies have contributed to a new outreach campaign that will engage private landowners in the state’s forest stewardship program, letting them know about the market opportunities available to certified forest owners and the many other benefits of ATFS certification. The North Carolina Forest Service has pledged in-kind support.
The effort is “a win for family forest owners, for our partners in the forest products sector, and for their customers who want more certified fiber,” says American Forest Foundation President and CEO Tom Martin. “The expansion of the certified family forest base supports local jobs in the green economy, and also serves as a source of sustainable local wood for building and other materials.”
A Strong Industry
Some 61 percent of North Carolina is forested, and forest products contribute 67,500 jobs and $1.8 billion each year to the state’s economy. More than 11 million acres of the state’s forests are privately owned, with only 304,429 acres currently certified by ATFS. The demand for sustainably grown, certified timber is increasing even as the threats to private forestland posed by development and urbanization are on the rise.
North Carolina State Forester Greg Pate says ATFS “has long been a cornerstone in sustainable management.” He notes that the benefits of Tree Farm certification can “help private landowners in our state maintain their forests as working lands” in the face of development pressures.
Cassie Phillips, Weyerhaeuser’s Vice President of Sustainable Forests and Products, says family-owned Tree Farms “demonstrate best practices every day” and are “a wonderful source” for the certified wood her customers demand. “Family forest owners stand to benefit greatly from certification with the American Tree Farm System®,” adds Charles Daniels, procurement forester with Domtar. “It is important to join in the commitment to improve sustainability for future generations through the many tools offered by ATFS participation.”
“Private landowners are a vital source of fiber for our mills, and we look for every opportunity to support their efforts,” says Bernard Rose, Fiber Supply Manager at KapStone Paper and Packaging, another corporate supporter of the outreach campaign. He noted that fiber from certified Tree Farms provides assurance to his customers “that our products are sourced with the utmost care for the environment.”