With a $7.5 million gift to NFWF, International Paper has embarked on a pioneering partnership to conserve and restore southern forestlands that represent critical habitat for endangered wildlife and jobs for one million workers.
The Forestland Stewards partnership, announced March 7, aims to restore, protect and enhance 200,000 acres of forests across eight southern states—the low country of North and South Carolina, the Cumberland plateau in Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia, and the piney woods on the Louisiana-Texas border. These three regions contain some of the most biologically diverse natural areas in the world.
Forestland Stewards will work to establish protected wildlife corridors between existing hubs of forestland and assist landowners in improving commercial and environmental management practices for “working” forests. These actions are expected to benefit threatened species including the Louisiana black bear, red cockaded woodpecker, gopher tortoise, songbirds, pine snake, mussels and rare plants.
“Forest stewardship has been a part of our company’s DNA for 115 years,” said International Paper Chairman and CEO John Faraci. “With this partnership, we can continue that commitment to protect and restore landscapes for generations to come.”
International Paper has nine mills and several other facilities located in these regions, so IP employees will have an opportunity for hands-on conservation contributions in their local areas.
“This public-private partnership is a 21st century model for conserving and expanding America’s most vulnerable natural areas,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The goal is to enhance and connect forest systems to create seamless habitats for wildlife and more sustainable forests to support local economies.”
Learn more about the Forestland Stewards program.