FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (February 25, 2021)
Washington, DC—The Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Network (SFLR) today announced it will help restore biodiversity and fight climate change by joining the stakeholder council for the US Chapter of 1t.org, the global movement to grow, restore and conserve one trillion trees worldwide by 2030.
SFLR’s mission is to create a sustainable system of support for African American forest owners that significantly increases the value of African American-owned forests, land retention, and asset development. “African American family forest owners have deep and ancestral ties to the land, and they have an important role to play in reaching the one trillion trees goal,” says Alton Perry, SFLR Network’s representative on the 1t.org US Chapter Stakeholder Council. “African American family forest owners can contribute by planting new trees and maintaining healthy forests. Planting new trees is a sustainable way to generate income for families, so it’s a win for the families, the forests, and the planet.”
As of December 2020, the SFLR network has assisted more than 1,380 landowners across 87,100 acres in the southeast US. The majority of these landowners have owned their family forests for generations and are well-positioned to act as stewards of the land. The 1t.org US Chapter, co-led by the World Economic Forum and American Forests, is a natural fit for these landowners, many of whom are actively engaged in sustainable forestry as a way to keep their forests as forests for generations to come.
“A top priority of the 1t.org U.S. Chapter is to create the most inclusive forest movement ever, providing new support and opportunity to forest leaders who have sometimes been overlooked or under-resourced,” said Jad Daley, President and CEO of American Forests. “The SFLR has done a spectacular job of engaging African American landowners across the Southeast to conserve, restore and grow forests. Having SFLR on the U.S. Stakeholder Council will provide deep and invaluable expertise and experience, and we hope to help SLFR do even more with support and partnership from the other diverse partners across the U.S. Chapter.”
“SFLR’s work focuses on helping African American family forest owners use sustainable forestry to increase family wealth and to build a legacy,” says Tom Martin, President and CEO of the American Forest Foundation (AFF). “The mission of the 1t.org US Chapter aligns perfectly with its mission of supporting African American family forest owners and the many benefits their forests deliver.” AFF manages the administrative, fundraising, policy advocacy, and technical support functions of the SFLR program in collaboration with the SFLR Network.
African American family-owned forests deliver benefits shared by all, such as purifying our air and water, conserving wildlife habitat, producing sustainable wood products, and sequestering carbon to mitigate climate change. According to AFF, in the US alone, forests and forest products currently capture 15% of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. The Foundation is one of the lead organizations in the US helping to advance the trillion trees mission.
The primary reasons for forest loss and degradation in the U.S. are conversion for residential and commercial development as well as climate change-induced wildfires, pests, diseases and droughts. Planting the right trees in the right places, and taking care of them in the right way, will help address these threats.
Forests are an essential part of the solution to tackle climate change and biodiversity collapse, as well as important for jobs and sustainable livelihoods. That’s why the Forum launched 1t.org – the Trillion Trees Platform – to leverage the collective action of governments, non-governmental organizations, businesses, families, and individuals worldwide to accelerate nature-based solutions and conserve, restore and grow forests.
The Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Network serves as the coordinating agency for eight anchor organizations that make up the network: Black Family Land Trust, VA; Roanoke Electric Cooperative, NC; Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation, SC; McIntosh Sustainable Environment and Economic Development, GA; Limited Resources Landowner Education Assistance Network, AL; Winston County Self Help Cooperative, MS; University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, AR; and Prairie View A&M University, TX.
About the Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Network (SFLR)
SFLR exists to create a sustainable system of support for African American forest owners that significantly increases the value of African American-owned forests, land retention, and asset development. Most African American landowners have owned their family land for generations. Land management decisions are often driven by family legacy rather than economic factors. However, without realizing any value from their land, the property faces the risk of becoming a liability rather than an asset. African Americans have faced additional challenges due to heirs’ property, smaller land holdings, and mistrust of the forest industry and federal programs. Enter sustainable forestry — a way for landowners to maintain their deep ties to the land while promoting wealth creation and land retention. Visit: sflrnetwork.org.
1t.org is the World Economic Forum’s Trillion Tree Platform. 1t.org is a multistakeholder platform serving a global movement to conserve, restore and grow 1 trillion trees by 2030 in support of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. The US Chapter of 1t.org is co-led by the World Economic Forum and American Forests. For more information about the US Chapter, visit US.1t.org
Alton Perry, Program Director, SFLR Program, Roanoke Electric Cooperative
Mavis Gragg, Director, SFLR Program, American Forest Foundation