Creating Sustainability through Collaboration
American Forests is working with diverse partners to meet the challenge of restoring and revitalizing oaks from Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee to Virginia and West Virginia, America’s most important white oak-producing landscape.
Across the Eastern United States, oak forests have sustained us and shaped our way of life. Some of the best wine, whiskey and bourbon is aged in white oak barrels made in America. Oak is also one of the most valuable woods for making furniture, flooring and other wood products, supporting an important slice of the 2.4 million jobs in America’s forest products industry.
Oak forests dominate some of our most important landscapes for water and wildlife, too. The lush mountain headwaters in heartland states like Kentucky and Missouri flow from oak forests. Oaks are also an unusually productive source of food for wildlife thanks to the abundance of acorns.
After widespread harvesting and severe fires a century ago, oaks have now become the most prominent trees in our woods by volume. But the white oak’s future is less certain. The survival of white oak seedlings is challenged by too many deer, repeated pest invasions and lack of wildfires. We must creatively manage and restore our forests to spur the next generation of white oaks.
American Forests will accomplish this goal by working with conservation groups, landowners, the forest products industry, foresters and government agencies; a collective enterprise known as the White Oak Initiative. Working together, this partnership will use innovative forestry techniques to revitalize white oak across public and private lands alike, ensuring robust white oak forests for generations to come.
To meet these challenges, American Forests has established the Oak Restoration Fund to plant and restore oak forests for our future. These dollars pay for reclaiming mine land to be replanted as oak forest, planting seedlings, and managing forests to support native oak stands. This fund brings future oaks to life and sustains the benefits that they provide us. White oak is the focus of the fund, but all projects will promote healthy forest ecosystems.
To kick-start the Oak Restoration Fund, Independent Stave Company (ISCO) is providing matching funds to support restoration projects in key locations. Founded by the Boswell family in 1912, ISCO has a long heritage in the wine and spirits industry and, by utilizing nearly one hundred percent of each log for its products, ISCO operates as one of the most sustainable, environmentally conscious cooperage companies in the world. These sustainability practices are mimicked by sister company Cooperages 1912.