Loss of ownership and asset value by minority forestland owners in the US South has reached a critical level. While there is a multitude of contributing factors, there is an opportunity to establish new models for engagement of these landowners by utilizing networks that already exist within these communities, where many traditional approaches have failed. The US Endowment for Forests and Communities was awarded $72,000 from the SFI Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program to establish new models for engaging minority landowners.
Through collaboration with trusted partners from within their own community, minority landowners were educated on forest management and certification in the American Tree Farm System and Sustainable Forestry Initiative and given the opportunity to engage broadly in sustainable forestry. The US Endowment and partners utilized existing networks, resulting in the advancement of sustainable forestry and ensuring the continued legacy and heritage of minority land-ownership in the region. This grant linked to a larger project underway by US Endowment, and addresses a key issue affecting minority landownership, intergenerational wealth, and cultural heritage in the region. Over 100 minority family forest owners directly benefited through project outreach and education programs. Additionally, the outreach model utilized helped establish a methodology that will extend far beyond the bounds of this project. The project addressed SFI Standard goals of Landowner Outreach and Community Involvement in the Practice of Sustainable Forestry.
The US Endowment for Forests and Communities partnered with Center for Heirs Property Preservation, Limited Resource Landowner Education and Assistance Network (LRLEAN), Roanoke Center of Roanoke Electrical Coop, and Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund.
About U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities works collaboratively with partners in the public and private sectors to advance systemic, transformative and sustainable change for the health and vitality of the nation's working forests and forest-reliant communities. The Endowment has been charged with two purposes:
- educational and charitable causes in timber-reliant communities; and
- educational and public-interest projects addressing forest management issues that affect timber-reliant communities, the sustainability of forests as sources of building materials, wildlife habitat, bio-energy, recreation, and other values.
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