Supporting the Organization’s Endangered Western Forests Initiative

WASHINGTON, D.C. — (March 11, 2014) — American Forests is proud to announce that its Endangered Western Forest (EWF) initiative has received a $95,000 grant from leading Australian eco-wine brand Banrock Station. The EWF initiative is a multi-year program designed to address the devastation of the whitebark pine from infestations of mountain pine beetles and the invasive fungus, white pine blister rust. American Forests is the oldest national conservation nonprofit in the US, founded in 1875, focused on protecting and restoring forests to preserve the health of the planet for the benefit of its inhabitants. Since 1990, American Forests has planted more than 45 million trees in forests throughout the U.S. and in 44 countries

“We are really thankful to have the generous support of Banrock Station wines for this critical project in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem,” said Scott Steen, American Forests’ president and chief executive officer. “This program will make a difference not only to the local communities in the region, but also to those living in the 16 states supplied by the area’s watershed and the dozens of animal species that depend on whitebark pine forests.”

Growing in the highest elevations, whitebark pines reduce soil erosion and regulate snow melt, ensuring a steady supply of fresh clean water to tens of millions of Americans over the course of the year. Whitebark pine also produces large, nutritious seeds, an essential food source for dozens of animals including endangered grizzly bears, black bears, Clark’s nutcrackers, red squirrels and a host of other seed-eating birds and mammals. The Greater Yellowstone Area alone is home to 60 large mammal species, 118 species of fish and 311 species of birds. These pines are also essential for plant and animal biodiversity as they provide protection from harsh mountain conditions; 190 plant species occur in whitebark pine communities, some of which live nowhere else.

“Banrock Station has a deep appreciation and commitment to the natural environment,” said Laurel Rowan, Senior Brand Manager for Banrock Station. “In Australia, Banrock Station has lead the way as a conservation minded winery for over twenty years  managing nearly 4,000 acres of native vegetation including more than 600 acres of native wetlands. “Wetlands are even more precious in a dry landscape like Australia where more than 50% of them have been destroyed.”

In 2002, the Banrock Station wetland complex was listed under the international Ramsar Convention for the protection of significant wetlands, as a wetland of international importance (www.ramsar.org). The international recognition of this wetland also described Banrock Station as a model or demonstration site for the Ramsar Convention’s fundamental principle of ‘wise use’. It combines private enterprise with wetland conservation and rehabilitation and with raising awareness of the important values and functions of wetlands.

Since 1996, part proceeds from sales of Banrock Station wines have funded conservation projects in Australia and internationally with a focus on wetland rehabilitation and threatened species recovery projects. Banrock has supported returning salmon to rivers in Canada, otter protection in Denmark, bee recovery in the UK and breeding threatened duck species in New Zealand.

“Supporting the reforestation efforts of American Forests seemed like another great way for our company to give back to our customers and the planet,” Ms. Rowan said.

Banrock’s grant will contribute to American Forests’ goal to plant 100,000 disease-resistant whitebark pines in the next three years, supporting the identification and testing of existing trees to determine natural disease resistance, collection of cones from disease-resistant trees for propagation at nurseries and the planting of seedlings in prioritized areas.

This grant will also support American Forests’ efforts  to protect existing disease-resistant whitebark pines by applying pheromone patches (verbenone) to more than 10,000 adult disease-resistant trees to protect them from beetle infestation and other activities such as the protection of cone-bearing branches of naturally disease-resistant trees to ensure the availability of whitebark pine seeds.

American Forests is partnering with the US Forest Service to foster innovative research and the development of additional management techniques aiming to create a replicable strategy that can be applied to save forests across the West. For information on the EWF Initiative, visit www.americanforests.org/ewf.

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AMERICAN FORESTS
American Forests has served as a catalyst for many of the most important milestones in the conservation movement, including the founding of the U.S. Forest Service, the national forest and national park systems and literally thousands of forest ecosystem restoration projects and public education efforts. Learn more at www.americanforests.org.

BANROCK STATION
Situated in the heart of South Australia’s Riverland, Banrock Station’s Wine and Wetland Centre overlooks 250 hectares of Australian wetlands. The main lagoon covers 120 hectares and the eastern lagoon 130 hectares. Banrock Station’s Boardwalk Trails provide unprecedented public access to River Murray wetlands. Eight kilometres of trails includes 800m of wheelchair-accessible boardwalk, interpretive signage, bird hides and rest areas.

Banrock Station’s wetlands are amongst the most significant ecological commitment of any wine company in the world. Most Ramsar wetlands are managed by government or conservancy groups. Banrock Station’s wetlands are unique in the world of nature conservation as they have the distinction of being managed by a corporation whose business is wine production.

Over 80,000 visitors each year discover how Banrock Station’s care for the environment goes hand in hand with the care they take in making their wine. Learn more at www.banrockstation.com.au.

PRESS CONTACT:
Lea Sloan
American Forests
VP, Communications
lsloan@americanforests.org
202-370-4509