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.
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.
FORESTS REPRESENT THE LARGEST STORE OF TERRESTIAL CARBON IN THE WORLD:
77% of the carbon stored in vegetation exists within forests5
39% of carbon stored in soil occurs underneath the forest cover5
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 36% of U.S. forests are family-owned 4
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
International Paper developed an innovative mapping system that guides our responsible fiber procurement on non-certified forestland in the United States. This tool builds on our commitment to transparency in fiber sourcing and ensures our procurement activities maintain or enhance the environmental values of the forests from which we source.
What’s On Our Map:
• Rare plant and animal species
• Areas of high biodiversity
• Areas that provide Important landscape connectivity
• Rare forest types
In 2019, we joined American Forest Foundation (AFF) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in supporting the Family Forest Carbon Program to enhance carbon sequestration in family owned forestland across the U.S. This innovative program addresses climate change through family-owned forestland.
In the U.S., families and individuals own the largest portion – 36% – of all forests. The Family Forest Carbon Program, once fully scaled, will open 290 million acres of forestland to additional carbon sequestration potential.
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.
RIL-C can cut up to 50 percent of CO2 emissions in a commercial forest
International Paper is among one of the first five U.S. companies to join World Wildlife Fund’s Forests Forward, a global program that engages with companies and other stakeholders to deliver effective nature-based strategies for forests.
International Paper collaborates with WWF on three projects as part of the Forests Forward program:
• Growing the availability of fiber from sustainably managed forests
• Atlantic Forest restoration in the Mogi Guaçu River basin of Brazil
• Developing science-based targets for forests
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).
20 percent of timberland in the U.S. is certified by reputable third-party verified systems7
Why burn forests?
Fire as a forest management tool
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
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.
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.
of the United States
— 751 million acres —
We’ve worked with a variety of stakeholders, like private landowners, government agencies and conservation groups, to develop science-based conservation plans to keep more than 600,000 acres of Southern pine, oak, bottomland hardwoods and woodlands healthy and intact.
We’re committed to conserving and restoring one million acres of ecologically significant forestland by 2030
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.
Since 2013, our Forestland Stewards partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has resulted in:
- 600,000 acres of forest ecosystems planted or enhanced
- More than 500 miles of stream habitat improved
- 18,000 private landowners engaged in implementing forest stewardship practices
The Forestland Stewards partnership awards grants to projects that restore native forests, strengthen important fish and wildlife populations, and protect watersheds. The partnership focuses on four priority landscapes:
• Coastal Plain forests of North and South Carolina
• Piney Woods of Louisiana and Texas
• Cumberland Plateau of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee
• Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri
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.
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.