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FOREST fund logo created by Leslie Reynalte

Why we must value nature

The current economic system does not give trees a monetary value until they are harvested. As a result, this makes it is easier relating to the value of wood used to build a home or appreciating the toilet paper market after last year’s pandemic fueled buying spree. But what about plentiful, clean water or wildlife habitat? Many businesses rely on the benefits and attraction forests have to offer. Forests are arguably the golden goose to the region’s economic development and prosperity, which is why forest stewardship is so important.

Value through forest stewardship

Forested watersheds and clean water make the successful brewing scene possible. If you value wildlife, you should value forests. If outdoor experiences are a part of your life, then forests are your playground. Presumably, we would like our children and grandchildren to have the same experiences, which is why everyone should support forest stewardship.

Restoring forests makes them stronger and better prepared to withstand the more common weather events that bring disturbance, like drought and flooding, and the onslaught of invasive species. We can no longer manage forests by benign neglect, nor by outdated methods.

This fund creates a vehicle for maintaining permanently protected lands. Through forestry, education, and training, the FOREST fund will double the stewardship land trusts can perform and help them plan for the future. By training staff and volunteers in identification and control methods, this initiative will assure that protected forests are not over run with invasive plants. This efforts will keep conservation values on the landscape for future generations to come.

How was it funded?

The FOREST fund was funded in part by a generous grant from The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC). Grant funding from CFWNC provided a match incentive for industry to support forest stewardship and begin to quantify the impact healthy forests have on their bottom line. Below are the six industry sectors and community partners that supported this fund’s development.

Industry Partners

These amazing partners stepped up in support of the FOREST fund. They show their appreciation for the value healthy forests bring their businesses by funding forest restoration projects on permanently protected lands. In return, nature pays a dividend.

What businesses rely on healthy forests?

Forest Products

Renewable sources of paper and wood are necessary. Local producers of forest products recognize that a sustainable supply begins with keeping current forests resilient.


Plentiful, clean water is made possible by healthy forests. Filtered water that requires little treatment is why brewers choose to brew in Western North Carolina.

Outdoor recreation

Getting outside often means getting in the woods. Hiking, boating, hunting, camping, and other recreation need healthy forests. Leave no trace means being a good steward.

Real Estate

People choose to move here because of the scenic beauty and quality of life provided by forests and the experiences they offer. Stewarding our natural resources will keep those qualities on the landscape.


Hotels are built to accommodate the flow of people that travel here to share in the region’s beauty. That beauty must be maintained by supporting stewardship activities that restore forests and make them stronger


The region is filled with many outdoor experiences that make it attractive for people to visit. Keeping those experiences on the landscape means proactively caring for nature and restoring forests for future generations of tourists.

Massive oriental bittersweet vines will strangle and overcome healthy trees

Why is forest stewardship needed?

Land Trusts are entrusted with the stewardship of the land they have permanently protected. They need additional help and resources to strengthen forestlands and prepare them for future threats. This fund will double the stewardship on conservation lands and will fund up to $30,000 in grant funds to Land Trust in 2021.

Would your land trust like to learn more about stewardship funding?

Double your stewardship budget with match funding

Why should your business support the FOREST fund?

Support economic development that values nature by planning for its future use

Gather support from industries that benefit from a healthy forested infrastructure.  Groups like breweries, real estate, outdoor recreation and tourism based businesses like hotels benefit from the over 1.5 million acres of protected forests in WNC.  Having industry support for stewardship efforts that strengthen forest resiliency is an important step towards valuing the natural benefits that forests provide, like clean water, climate change mitigation and wildlife habitat to name just a few.

Make a measurable difference by supporting stewardship on protected land

 Support conservation lands with funding for forest stewardship.  This initiative will double the stewardship on permanently protected lands while giving land trusts support in the management of their forests.  Land trusts need help restoring and maintaining the special lands they have protected and this fund will be available to help control invasive species. Stewardship is an ongoing need and should be supported by the community that receives its benefits.

Join a collaborative partnership that promotes sustainability of the region

Tell the story of how industry and conservation advocates are working together to protect the natural attributes that make our region so desirable.  The public’s understanding of forest stewardship and why it is needed must be improved upon if we expect our behaviors to change.  Tying economic resilience to natural resilience will go a long way and allow us to lift up conservation minded businesses and highlight their commitment to the sustainability of our region.

Or call Lang Hornthal at 828-230-2425 for more information on how your business will be promoted and where to donate.