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Every Day is Earth Day for Private Forest Landowners

April 22, 2022

Private forests provide clean air, clean water and essential wildlife habitat

Carrolton, GA – It’s Earth Day, which means it’s time to thank a private forest landowner. America’s forest landowners are working behind the scenes managing their forests not only for wood supply but to provide clean drinking water, remove carbon from the air, provide oxygen and support wildlife.

Fifty-six percent of forestland in the United States is privately owned and sustainably managed by families and private companies. That’s 445 million acres. Private forestlands contribute immense economic and environmental benefits such as:

  • Water – Purifying 25% of the nation’s water supply and reducing soil erosion.
  • Air – Reducing pollution by offsetting U.S. carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Wildlife –Providing critical habitats for wildlife and plants. Sixty percent of America’s at-risk wildlife rely on private forests and 40% of the distribution of 152 bird species are in private forests.

“Private forest landowners are often overlooked for the vast benefits they contribute to the environment. This Earth Day, we want to recognize those landowners and the immense impact they have on the air and water quality of the local communities, as well as their contributions to wildlife habitat”, said Scott Jones, CEO of the Forest Landowners Association.

As the nation focuses on the climate crisis and carbon emissions, private working forests are a natural climate solution. Private working forests provide 73% of our forests’ annual gross carbon sequestration, and 54% of total carbon storage, all while providing 90% of the harvest for forest products.

“Cutting trees is often seen as a negative when talking about the environment, however, America’s private forest landowners replant, regrow and regenerate the trees they harvest each year,” stated Jones. “In fact, today, private forest landowners grow 43% more wood than they harvest.”

Wood products also help reduce carbon emissions. According to the National Alliance of Forest Owners, wood products store more than two times the carbon emissions than our national parks. So, every time lumber is purchased for that new deck, notebooks are bought for the new school year or cardboard boxes are acquired for a move, carbon is being stored.

“With U.S. private forest landowners leading the world in sustainable forest management, it is more important now than ever that consumers buy U.S. grown wood,” added Jones. “You’re not only providing an economic boost to your local community but ensuring that the wood you are using is positively contributing to the environment. It’s a win-win for all involved.”  


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