Progress in the Forest

Today marks the fourth anniversary of our historic agreement with Bowater to increase protections for our Southern forests…

June 25th marks a big day in the history of Dogwood Alliance.  It was four years ago today that Dogwood Alliance signed a historic agreement with Bowater (now AbitibiBowater) that dramatically changed the way the company does business in the special forests of the Cumberland Plateau and across the Southern region.

AbitibiBowater, North America’s largest newsprint manufacturer agreed to protect ecologically significant forests on the Cumberland Plateau, end the practice of converting natural forests to plantations, curb the use of toxic chemicals in its forest management, and improve its practices on the ground in the woods.

Since that time Dogwood Alliance has been working hard to make sure AbitibiBowater holds true to its commitments. We have not only working closely with the company to monitor its commitment, but we’ve also been working with the University of the South’s Landscape Analysis Lab to monitor the company’s forest practices using state-of-the-art satellite imagery analysis. Through this project, the first of its kind in the US, we have been able to independently assess AbitibiBowater’s compliance with its commitments.

With your help together we have made a difference for Southern forests and have protected some of the best of what is left on the Cumberland Plateau.

That is why today we are releasing our 3rd annual report, monitoring the company’s compliance, complementing all the progress that they have made and highlighting areas for continuous improvement. You can check out that report here. Specifically this year we are excited to be able to report that AbitibiBowater is in fact now protecting ephemeral ponds on the Cumberland Plateau – small isolated wetlands that provide critical habitat for many species of salamanders and birds.

A month ago, I went out in the field on the Cumberland Plateau with some AbitibiBowater folks and someone from the University of the South’s faculty who has been analyzing satellite imagery of company land over the last four years to ground truth the data. It was inspiring to see for myself the ephemeral ponds and lush hardwood stands as a result of our work.

After the fun and excitement of the campaign comes to an end, monitoring corporate progress is not the sexiest work, but it turns out that is is the real work. This follow-up is where we ensure that our forests are protected and that important commitments are followed through on. So today, we would like to ask you to make a donation to support our work holding companies’ feet to the fire and protecting our forests and communities for this and future generations. You can donate here.


It also reminds me that we all hear a lot of green talk these days – without a lot of real green action.  The first company that is the largest pulp and paper company in the world, who continues to lag behind companies like AbitibiBowater in places like the coastal forests of North and South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia, where they are destroying coastal wetland forests to make paper packaging for some of the largest fast food chains in the country. It’s time to move past the hot air and the greenwashing.

Through our packaging campaign, Dogwood Alliance is working hard to hold companies like IP accountable. Thank you for your continued support and all that you do in joining us to make the world a better place.

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