It’s a little-known fact that more than 87 percent of forestland in the southeastern United States is the property of private woodland owners. And of this amount, nearly 2/3 is held by individuals and families – people like you and me.
This area of the country also happens to be the leading forest products producing region in the world, responsible for the pulp, paper, timber, furniture and other products we use every day. That’s why you often hear it referred to as the “wood basket of the world”.
The southern Appalachians are a unique place in the Southeast U.S. Due in part to its natural beauty and numerous state and national parks, most people incorrectly assume that this swath of the country is largely owned by the government. Truth is, much of the mountain region is family owned, often in small parcels, a place that generations of people call home.
It is also home to some of the most diverse collections of plants and animals in the world, as well as a host of forest-based producers, including Domtar’s Kingsport, Tennessee mill. For that reason, we feel a sense of duty to help ensure responsible forestry becomes the norm to maintain the productivity of the region’s forests for years to come.
That duty prompted Domtar, the Rainforest Alliance (RA) and several leading forest products companies to form the Appalachian Woodlands Alliance (AWA) to increase the awareness of best forest management practices.
Increasingly, consumers are demanding fiber-based products made from well-managed forests with logging that protects water quality and wildlife habitats while allowing woodlands to thrive into the future.
As the industry looks to increase the supply of certified lumber, developing strong relationships with landowners becomes critical. Through the AWA, Domtar and RA have joined forces to host various woodland management events for landowners to offer information about why responsible management is important.
The outreach events have been held in multiple locations – from a Staples parking lot in North Carolina to Domtar’s Kingsport, Tennessee mill – and have proven successful. The event at Kingsport alone drew more than 70 woodland owners which help us move one step closer to ensuring sustainable forestry management becomes the norm.
To learn more about the sustainability work being done to maintain healthy forests in the southern Appalachia region, watch this video from Michael Morris, the fiber procurement manager for Domtar’s Kingsport Mill.