Trees For Generations To Come

As we continue to order more online, get more delivered to our homes in boxes, and swap polluting materials for renewable fiber-based alternatives, what effect does this have on the future of our world’s forests?

Contrary to popular belief, the production and use of forest products, which includes everything from corrugated boxes and printing paper to the fiber used to make hygiene products, doesn’t necessarily lead to less forest. In fact, demand for forest products can actually lead to more forestland.

Demand leads to a need for more responsibly grown trees. And that means more landowners are keeping their land forested—rather than selling it for development or other non-forest uses.

100 trees remove 53 tons of carbon dioxide and 430 pounds of other air pollutants per year1

31% of the earth’s total land area is covered by forest2

More than 1,000 species reside in every square kilometer of forestland3

20% more trees in the U.S. since 19704

A forest is one of nature’s most powerful systems to capture carbon dioxide, purify water and create diverse plant and animal habitats.  

Companies like International Paper, which depend on thriving forests, are on the front line of contributing to healthy forest ecosystems in both working and non-working forests.


77% of the carbon stored in vegetation exists within forests5

39% of carbon stored in soil occurs underneath the forest cover5

There are places in the world where forests are threatened, and deforestation from agriculture and development is devastating ecosystems, but there are also places where forests are thriving because of careful stewardship. Companies that manufacture forest products can be a powerful force for preventing deforestation and keeping forests healthy.

International Paper has teamed up with collaborators, from small family farmers to global environmental organizations, to sustain forestlands through:


Along with World Wildlife Fund, we are working to advance the concept of science-based targets that will, for the first time, identify what quantity and quality of forest land is needed globally and regionally to ensure forests provide people, plants and animals with the clean air and water, food, and other services they need to thrive. This work will help to guide the management, conservation, and restoration of forests.


Finding and Using Best Practices For Working Forests

The fiber used to make our products comes from working forests. These are forests that are harvested sustainably and then replanted over and over. More than 90 percent of International Paper’s fiber supply in the United States comes from privately-owned forests, many of which are small and family-owned. We work with landowners to ensure the responsible management of those forests.

More than 56% of U.S. forests are privately-owned4

According to The Nature Conservancy, sustainable forestry, and keeping forestlands forested, can be an important low-cost natural lever for carbon storage. This is one way we’re contributing to carbon sequestration and to the future of forests.

The supply of timber also provides steady jobs for people and communities who depend on forests for their livelihoods. We’re making sure both diverse forests and sustainably sourced products exist for future generations.

90% of U.S. forest products come from privately owned working forests6

2.4 million U.S. jobs supported by working forests6

Here's how:

International Paper joined forces with the American Forest Foundation to form the Carolinas Working Forest Conservation Collaborative.

Fast Facts

450 landowners will be supported with technical assistance and resources to get them started in forest management

13,000 acres of forestland to be enhanced, restored and expanded

120 landowners will be certified in a recognized forest certification standard

Man with Notebooks

As a member of the World Wildlife Fund’s Global Forest and Trade Network, International Paper collaborates on this initiative to eliminate illegal logging and drive improvements in forest management.

Fast Facts

International Paper has been a member of this global network since 2013. The network of forest and trade experts in 27 countries provide technical assistance to companies on issues related to forest management, chain of custody certification, species risks and more

Hillside Landscape with Trees

We’ve teamed up with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to focus on the expansion of Reduced-Impact Logging for Carbon (RIL-C), a set of practices pioneered by TNC that balance the economic needs of forest-based communities and businesses with environmental goals.

Fast Facts

RIL-C can cut up to 50 percent of CO2 emissions in a commercial forest

Men Measuring Tree

We’re committed to 100% sustainably sourced fiber, including those certified by independent third-party organizations including the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).

Fast Facts

20 percent of timberland in the U.S. is certified by reputable third-party verified systems7

Sun Showing Through Treeline

Since 2012, International Paper’s wood sourcing business in France has helped more than 700 landowners implement sustainable forestry management practices.

Fast Facts

425,000 metric tons of FSC® wood has been supplied to our Saillat mill since 2012.

Why burn forests?

Fire as a forest management tool

Image of forest rangers around controlled brush fire

Many forest ecosystems in the U.S. are fire dependent. Specifically, the plants and animals that call these ecosystems home have survival or regeneration strategies that not only tolerate fire but also may require it.

Prescribed FIRE = a planned fire, also known as “controlled burn” because they control some plants and encourage the growth of others and because land managers control the spread and intensity of the fire by conducting them during ideal burning conditions

Prescribed fire is a common tool land managers can use to maintain vegetation which can result in many benefits. These benefits include:

  • Enhancing habitat diversity by increasing plant quality and the quantity of wildlife foods overall
  • Reducing hazardous fuel loads thereby decreasing the risk for destructive wildfires
  • Enhancing the quality of the soil: fire increases moisture filtration rates, improves nutrient cycling, and the ash serves as a natural fertilizer
  • Enhancing the palatability of new plant growth, which is critical for animals that browse for leaves, soft shoots, and shrubs, such as a white-tail deer
  • Controls invasive vegetation, which is typically not fire tolerant


Ensuring Forestland Stays Forested

Sustainable forestry doesn’t just happen in working forests. International Paper focuses on conserving the biodiversity and health of all forestland, including those that aren’t used to make products. We’re working with environmental advocates, government agencies, and other businesses to keep forests thriving.

Here’s how

Through Forestland Stewards, our conservation collaborative with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, we’ve protected core habitats, including that of the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.

One Third Filled Map of US

of the United States
— 751 million acres —
is forested8

We’re committed to conserving and restoring one million acres of ecologically significant forestland by 2030

We’ve worked with a variety of stakeholders, like private landowners, government agencies and conservation groups, to develop science-based conservation plans to keep nearly 400,000 acres of Southern pine, oak, bottomland hardwoods and woodlands healthy and intact.


Protecting and Renewing Non-Working Forests

International Paper wouldn’t exist without thriving forests, so we’re working diligently to restore the health of forests.

High Overview Shot of Road

We’ve teamed up with World Wildlife Fund to advance forest restoration in Brazil.

The first step is a restoration project in a 5,584 square mile river basin called the Mogi Guaçu, one of the most threatened forests in the world.

Woodpecker on a Tree

Since 2013, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and International Paper have invested more than $15 million through the Forestland Stewards partnership.

The program has engaged nearly 15,000 private landowners in restoration, conservation, and habitat enhancement projects, restoring and protecting more than 400,000 acres of native forest and wildlife habitat.

Man planting seedling with boys

In 2018, 19 projects were awarded grants which are expected to establish more than 25,500 new protected acres as well as enhance and protect approximately 113,000 existing acres of longleaf and shortleaf pine and bottomland hardwood and riparian forest habitats.

One project alone will protect more than 13,000 acres of working forest along the Savannah River in South Carolina.

In Brazil, 25 percent of the land International Paper owns is set aside and planted as indigenous forest which will never be harvested.

IP Brazil has five private natural heritage reserves (RPPNs) totaling 1,345 hectares in São Paulo state. That land is home to at least 420 native trees and more than 350 animal species.

Not all forests are the same, so we try to protect all their economic, social and environmental values. As pressures on resources increase, we need healthy forests even more, and caring for them becomes increasingly important to ensure the future of forests for generations to come. As part of our Vision 2030 commitments, our aim is to lead forest stewardship efforts globally.

Additional Resources

Downloads, fact sheets, reports and more.


Answers to frequently asked questions about forestry, paper, packaging and pulp
Does Using Paper Products Kill Trees?

How responsibly produced paper products actually keep forests forested

Learn More
Are Recycled Paper Products Always Better for the Planet?

Recycling is only part of the sustainability equation

Learn More