Empowerment and partnership
Southern forest ecosystems are highly productive and support a diversity of plant and animal communities, ranging from high elevation forests to coastal wetlands. Most forestland in the Southern U.S. is privately owned, so connecting with private landowners is a major priority for achieving forest conservation goals in the region. Fifty-eight percent is owned by family forest landowners, who primarily own their forest for non-market values such as wildlife habitat and aesthetic beauty. The Guild’s focus on a more ecological approach to forest management resonates strongly with such landowners in the South.
We focus on outreach, education, training, and research to empower land managers and landowners, because landscape-level conservation cannot happen without them. We also coordinate forest conservation projects throughout the region with diverse partners to inspire responsible forest stewardship.
We put a strong emphasis on combining scientific research and boots-on-the-ground practices in order to provide the most feasible and effective strategies possible for management and conservation projects.
Our current work in the Southeast focuses on these critical roles:
1) Defining and coordinating conservation practices for bottomland hardwood forests, in the Coastal Carolinas and Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley,
2) Directing shortleaf pine ecosystem restoration and management in the Cumberland Plateau,
3) Supporting land managers, forest landowners, and other forest stewards in the Southern Appalachians in moving the needle on promoting fire adapted communities in the region, and
4) Ensuring the long-term sustainability of forests by working with forest product producers to maintain their Forest Stewardship Council certifications.
In all of this work, we maintain partnerships that help us create meaningful discourse around these topics.
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