Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

International Paper, NFWF partners with landowners to restore and manage natural resources


Through IP's Forestlands Stewards partnership, International Paper (IP) and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) are assisting landowners in Texas in restoring and managing their forests. These efforts will improve drinking water supplies and wildlife habitat, as well as recreational opportunities and forest sector jobs.

The Texas Longleaf Team and their partners have worked with private landowners to establish more than 4,700 acres of longleaf with the help of Forestlands Stewards. More than 2.8 million trees were planted, and 37,000 acres of existing longleaf forest were improved and maintained through prescribed fire and other management practises.

Prescribed burn certification workshops demonstrate to landowners why fire is an important forest management tool for reducing hazardous fuels and improving wildlife habitat. Longleaf acreage has been reduced to less than 5% of its historical range due to fire suppression, conversion to other forest types, and conversion to other land uses such as agriculture and housing.

“Watersheds in the Southern Region are very important for drinking water supplies and are at a high threat of reduced water yield because of a changing climate and potential land use changes. Providing forest owners in Texas and across the South with options to keep their land in forests can help keep surface drinking water supplies plentiful and clean,” said Jon Scott, Program Director of Southern Forests at NFWF.

Water quality 

Water quality and quantity are important indicators of local ecosystem health as well as the success of smart land management. Healthy forests filter pollutants that enter water supplies. It's not just about drinking water either. Everything boils down to the economy and jobs. Surface water already supplies roughly two-thirds of total municipal, manufacturing, electricity, and mining needs.

“Too often, we lose sight of the critical ecosystem services that sustainably managed forests provide. Protecting water is one of the most important things people can do—we aren’t making any more of it. That’s why landowners like me are excited that the Forestlands Stewards partnership is helping us improve the water supply,” said Amanda Haralson, Chair of The Longleaf Alliance, and an active member of the Texas Longleaf Team.

The Longleaf Alliance's mission is to ensure the longleaf pine ecosystem's long-term viability through partnerships, landowner assistance, and science-based education and outreach. Forestlands Stewards is assisting the Longleaf Alliance and other partners in their efforts to reach out to private landowners.

Forests provide ecological services on which we all rely.

One of the partnership's major strengths is its ability to bring people and organisations together to share ideas. The Savannah River Clean Water Fund is a good example. Many Forestland Stewards partners are represented in the Fund, which includes IP, conservation groups, utilities, and county and city governments.

It's a model that could work with longleaf in Texas. The Fund demonstrates that conserving upstream forests in the Savannah River Basin can not only reduce downstream pollution but also do so at a lower cost than costly water treatment facilities.

“We are finding more and more in Texas and across the [US] Southeast that private forest owners are interested in supporting ecosystem services like water quality and biodiversity. We need to keep working together through partnerships like Forestland Stewards to recognize and support private landowners who use prescribed fire and other techniques for public benefits,” says Jenny Sanders, Coordinator of the Texas Longleaf Team .

Forestland Stewardship
Since 2013, NFWF and IP have invested more than $2.7 million in longleaf pine restoration and management in east Texas.

Our investments enable landowners to keep their forests as forests and to plant native longleaf trees where appropriate, which benefits water and wildlife.

According to studies, longleaf pine managed with prescribed fire uses approximately 15% less water than a typical mixed pine-hardwood forest with no fire.