A Shared Passion for Forests

The Nature Conservancy and WestRock Foundation announced a partnership for two conservation projects in Southeast Virginia and along the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. Aligning with The Nature Conservancy, whose mission is to conserve lands and water for people today and for future generations, further demonstrates WestRock’s commitment to sustainable forestry and environmental stewardship.

The WestRock Foundation’s funding in Virginia will help The Nature Conservancy establish conservation easements over 10,000 acres of forestland along the Nottoway River and nearby Big Woods Conservation Area. These easements will preserve high-quality, ecologically diverse floodplain forest and support the restoration of longleaf pine savannas, home to rare red-cockaded woodpeckers and bobwhite quail. In addition to the forest and wildlife benefits of this project, a portion of the targeted conservation region includes acreage in one of the most biologically diverse stretches of the Nottoway River, which is a tributary of the Albemarle Sound. River protection resulting from the project will benefit freshwater flows into the Albemarle Sound estuary, which supports a variety of recreational and commercial uses.

In Tennessee, the WestRock Foundation’s funding will support land acquisition for conservation, along with efforts to grow forest certifications and increase participation in The Nature Conservancy’s Working Woodlands program in the Cumberland Plateau. Working Woodlands is designed to empower private landowners to conserve their lands as working forests while improving forest management and water quality in headwater streams through the application of forestry best management practices.

“The initiatives, and the WestRock Foundation’s pledge, speak to the importance of shared goals,” says Kevin Hudson, senior vice president, WestRock and board member of the WestRock Foundation. “The mission and work of The Nature Conservancy and the WestRock Foundation’s commitment to sustainable forest management and environmental stewardship all align to promote sustained forest health, wildlife diversity and water quality for this generation and those to come.”