After 10 years of campaigning, Dogwood Alliance was finally able to form a partnership with International Paper (IP) to advance forest conservation in the southern U.S., the biggest paper producing region in the world. To put this pivotal historical moment into context, IP is the biggest paper producer in the world, so their commitment is a gamechanger for the Southern forests products industry. The day we announced our partnership with IP, Danna Smith, Dogwood’s Executive Director, said, ““Today represents a milestone in a decade-long trend of improving forestry practices in the paper industry, and we are pleased to finally be in a position to give IP public support for its efforts. IP is the dominant player in the US paper market and this new initiative will not only have broad-sweeping positive impacts for Southern forests and communities but also set an important standard for others to follow in addressing long-standing public concerns with industrial logging in the region.”
So what does this mean for forests? What do forests really get out of this partnership?
- IP and Dogwood will work together to map the forests around IP’s mills to ensure that no endangered forests are affected by IP’s operations. With this mapping process, we’ll also be able to identify the truly important areas for conservation and focus our joint energies there.
- IP will work with Dogwood to discourage the conversion of natural hardwood forests to pine plantations.
- IP will triple Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified fiber volume by 2014, making it one of the largest FSC users in the world. (FSC is a rigorous certification organization that promotes environmentally sound, socially beneficial and economically prosperous management of forests around the world.)
- IP will fund a $7.5 million five-year project with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to restore and conserve forests in the Coastal Carolinas, Cumberland Plateau, and Texas/Arkansas Piney Woods regions.
What does all this add up to? A win for our forests. The value of our forests cannot be overrated. Our forests are vital for clean air, clean drinking water, flood control, wildlife habitat, and protect us from climate change. Not only that, but their presence is essential for our quality of life as inhabitants of this planet. We must protect them and work together toward better forest management systems and practices and toward a sustainable, clean energy future.