The Transylvania Times -

Guest Column: Promoting Responsibly-Managed Woodlands

 

May 29, 2017



Western North Carolina is home to some of the most beautiful forests in the nation. Collectively, owners of private woodland comprise more than 65 percent of forestland in the southeastern region of the United States. The future of these forests is impacted every day by the decisions of these woodland owners. This region is home to a long legacy of supporting responsible management of these private forests that are so critical to the region’s economy, health and well-being.

More than a century ago, Western North Carolina was the birthplace of what was then a radical idea in the United States: establishing the scientific study of forestry to use it for industry while supporting the forest health and long-term sustainability. Many woodland owners still make at least a part of their living off the land, selling timber to help pay for family needs. Thanks to them, the southeast U.S. is the leading forest products producing region in the world. Across the Southern Appalachians, trees are made into lumber, plywood, pulp, paper, packaging, furniture, flooring and many other products we use every day. The forest products industry remains a critical engine of economic activity across this region.

More and more, forest companies are looking to procure from landowners who proactively manage their forests in a responsible way. Evergreen Pack-aging in Canton, North America’s largest producer of gable-top cartons for milk and juice, has been supporting local woodland owners and the Western North Carolina community for over 100 years. The Canton Mill also operates a facility in Waynesville that coats the paperboard produced at the Canton Mill into material used for gable-top cartons and cupstock, which is used around the globe to package things like milk, juice and your morning cup of coffee.

Today, consumers of forest products, including paper packaging, are asking for products made with trees from well-managed forests with harvest practices that protect water quality and important wildlife habitat while leaving a better forest for the future. These are the very same values established and taught at the Biltmore Forest School almost 120 years ago, and the same values that can be maintained across the private landscape in Western North Carolina through responsible forest management. With increased demand for forest products from companies and consumers, woodland owners are a critical part of the supply chain. Good forest management will continue to provide the market with wood products that benefit local economies, wildlife, and the long-term health of our forests.

Shifting to woodland management from woodland ownership can be a challenge for landowners with jobs, families, and a host of other responsibilities. But there are resources to help landowners get there. The Appalachian Woodlands Alliance (a collaboration between Can-ton’s Evergreen Packaging, the U.S. Forest Service, and the nonprofit Rainforest Alliance, along with other forest products companies) is working to provide resources to woodland owners that are interested in taking a more active role in managing their forests. They may be interested in selling timber, realizing tax saving opportunities, or improving the health of their forest. It can be an intimidating process and many landowners don’t know where to begin. That is why the Appalachian Woodlands Alliance was developed. We hope to grow recognition for wood products from this region and provide resources and tools for woodland owners to be even better stewards of their forests.

Landowners who work with the Appalachian Woodlands Alliance have access to resources to learn more about forest management. Of course, landowners value their woodlands for many reasons beyond harvesting timber, so it’s important to note that responsible forest management can improve certain wildlife habitats that make our region so biologically diverse, regenerate healthy and diverse stands of trees, protect water quality, and keep our woods beautiful.

When companies that support our regional economy have the chance to sell wood and paper products that support both local economies and healthy forests across the region, everybody wins.

The Appalachian Woodlands Alliance is holding landowner outreach events for woodlands owners in the area on Saturday, June 3, at the Cradle of Forestry from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. including lunch. Woodland owners from the region are invited to join the AWA for the workshop with local forestry experts to learn about working with local mills and foresters to manage your forest for long-term profit and health.

For more information and to register, call Kelley McCarter at NC State University, (919) 515-9563 or visit http://go.ncsu.edu/Appalachianwood lands.

(Andrew Goldberg is the project manager of the Appalachian Woodlands Alliance and lives in Asheville.)

 
 

Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2017