WestRock and American Forest Foundation Partnership for Forest Conservation
The multi-year forest conservation partnership in the Cumberland Plateau between the American Forest Foundation (AFF), WestRock Company and the WestRock Foundation is focused on increasing the number of sustainably managed family landowners in the paper and pulp supply chain, specifically across southeast Tennessee.
Forest conservation encourages practices such as hardwood habitat improvements and forest biodiversity. Through these practices landowners are recognized with certification in the American Tree Farm System. The American Tree Farm system is an internationally recognized certification program designed for family and small forest owners, which is administered by AFF.
Increasing the amount of sustainably-produced wood products is a shared goal for AFF, WestRock and the WestRock Foundation, which provides strategic grants in key focus areas, including environmental stewardship. The desire for more conservation measures by family landowners has been heavily expressed in the recent AFF report, Southern Wildlife At Risk: Family Forest Owners Offer a Solution. In the report, 87% of surveyed landowners stated that protecting and improving wildlife habitat is the top reason they own land. The report also found that family forest owners own nearly 60% of the forests across the South, making the partnership with WestRock and AFF key to ensuring sustainable practices continue in the future.