Forestry

Redwood trees in Big River Forest/Photo by Matthew Gerhart

At A Glance

  • Two-thirds of Americans get their drinking water from forests.
  • The forest industry ranks among the top 10 employers in 42 states.
  • More than half of America's forests are privately owned and at risk of being sold.

America’s forests are at risk. Investment groups, companies and individuals privately own more than half our forestland, and it’s being carved up into smaller and more haphazard parcels all the time. Over the next 20 years, according to the U.S. Forest Service, as many as 26 million acres of America’s forests will go up for sale. 

When forests shrink or disappear, we lose the major benefits they provide—benefits you might not even realize.

 
Why Forests Matter

In addition to being home to wildlife, birds and plants, forests help provide clean drinking water by absorbing and filtering rain and snow into nearby streams. Forests improve our climate, by absorbing pollutants that contribute to climate change. As forests become fragmented, their ability to filter our water and air is compromised and there is less space for wildlife to live and migrate. 

Forests also benefit our economy, as well as our environment. The forest products industry is bigger than the U.S. auto industry, producing about $175 billion in goods annually and employing an estimated 900,000 people, according to the Forest Service. 

What We’re Doing

Across more than 250 projects, we’ve helped protect roughly two million acres of forestland nationwide. Our work includes Oregon’s first state forest in half a century, Minnesota’s largest conservation project ever, and dozens of community forests, historic sites, and wilderness areas. We also sustainably manage select forestland. Our goal is to swiftly save at-risk lands, coordinate long-term conservation ownership and show that nonprofits can return forests to ecological and economic viability through sustainable management.

North Coast Forest Conservation Initiative In California 

We currently manage more than 50,000 acres of redwood forests on California’s North Coast. Our management is successfully restoring habitat for local wildlife and generating revenue through timber harvest and the sale of carbon offsets.  

Working Forest Fund 

Our Working Forest Fund is a dedicated source of conservation bridge capital that allows us to acquire and sustainably manage working forests with high conservation value. After saving the land from inappropriate development, we work with conservation partners to permanently protect it. 

Go Zero®

Go Zero makes it simple for individuals and companies to measure their carbon dioxide emissions and then offset the remainder by planting trees in protected national wildlife refuges across the nation. To date, we’ve planted more than two million trees thanks to Go Zero donors. 

 

RELATED PROJECTS
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Minnesota’s Forest Legacy Partnership is working with landowners, loggers, outdoor enthusiasts and communities to preserve our forests for timber, jobs, recreation and wildlife habitat. The Partnership has established a multi-million dollar capital fund that will help ensure sustainable forestry, protect… Read More

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Garcia River Forest Garcia River Forest, Northern California

In 2004, when we purchased the Garcia River Forest, a nearly 24,000-acre expanse of redwood and Douglas fir forests along the Garcia River, we created California’s first large nonprofit-owned working forest. Garcia River Forest comprises one-third of the watershed of… Read More

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Almost twice the size of San Francisco, the 50,000-acre Usal Redwood Forest, in Mendocino County, is a classic sweep of California coastline. Here, stands of redwood and Douglas fir trees mix with more varied forests, oak woodlands and streams. Beneath… Read More

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Next door to our Garcia River Forest, the 14,000-acre Gualala River Forest shares its remarkable canopy of redwoods and Douglas firs. Beneath these magnificent trees, the Gualala River courses across the property, providing important spawning habitat for coho salmon and… Read More

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Gilchrist State Forest, Oregon Ponderosa pine trees

We’ve saved more than 1.5 million acres of forest across the country. As part of our efforts, we helped establish Gilchrist State Forest, the first addition to Oregon’s state forest system in more than 60 years. In addition to the… Read More

Bobcat Ridge Bobcat Ridge

To save some of America’s best forests before they become shopping malls, vineyards or subdivisions, we deploy our Working Forest Fund, a dedicated source of capital. Our goal is to purchase and manage key forests as working land that’s sustainably… Read More

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In July, 2010, we celebrated the largest conservation deal in Minnesota history: We completed a working forest conservation easement with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Blandin Paper Company (UPM) that forever protects nearly 188,000 acres of Northwoods forests, wetlands… Read More

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Tongass National Forest Tongass National Forest, Alaska

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Cave Creek, only 25 miles north of the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, is one of the few perennial streams in the Upper Sonoran Desert. Cottonwood, willow, sycamore and ash trees as well as bulrushes and cattails grow in this riparian… Read More

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The Ouachita National Forest covers 1.8 million acres across Oklahoma and Arkansas. This beautiful forest has mountains, lakes, rivers and trails open to the public for exploration and recreational activities such as hiking, camping, biking, hunting and fishing. This forest is also the location of what is… Read More

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CONTACT

Evan Smith, Vice President Conservation Ventures
Evan Smith Portland, OR 97227
(503) 407-0301
esmith@conservationfund.org

Conservation Ventures Vice President Evan Smith oversees our sustainable forestry and small business lending programs. Since joining The Conservation Fund in 1995, Evan has played a key role in acquiring, restoring, and managing working forests across the country. He leads our efforts to use the power of markets and business to advance conservation.