Our Role in Conservation

In the past, present, and future

Past


The beginnings of conservation in America were founded in by the likes of Theodore Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot, and Aldo Leopold at a time when much of the nation’s forest had been ravaged by timber barons and a growing nation with high demand for timber products. Pinchot and Leopold were both foresters, and their conservation ethic was founded in using positive impact forestry to restore the nation’s forestlands. The legacy of this historic forest abuse a century ago persists in our forest today in the form of even-aged forests, decreased biodiversity, and degraded soils. EcoForesters strives today to continue in the legacy of Pinchot and Leopold by using the tools of positive impact forestry to restore the vibrancy and health of our forests.

“Conservation means the greatest good to the greatest number for the longest time”

Gifford Pinchot | First Chief of U.S. Forest Service, 1905-1910.
Known as the Father of American Forestry.

A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.

Aldo Leopold | A Sand County Almanac, 1949.
Known as the Father of American Conservation.

Present


“The land trust community is crucial to the survival of our natural places. Land trusts enrich the lives of people in communities throughout the country and have protected in excess of 50 million acres — an area larger than New England.”

Land Trust Alliance

Conservation today is largely associated with land protection by groups such as The Nature Conservancy and local land trusts that acquire land or place it under conservation easement. EcoForesters frequently provides professional forestry guidance to land trusts and their landowners, who can feel confident that EcoForesters shares their stewardship approach that values biodiversity, ecosystem function, clean water, wildlife habitat, and aesthetic beauty. We apply positive impact forestry and restoration practices that can improve a property’s long-term conservation value. We also help conservation organizations achieve their mission as we refer many of our clients with high conservation value forest to consider the benefits of long-term land protection.

Another important tool we promote for conservation is the Present Use Valuation program. This program requires a long-term forest management plan to qualify, a service provided by EcoForesters, and can significantly reduce a landowner’s property taxes, allowing them to retain land and keep it forested that they might not afford to do with the usual property tax rates.

Current use valuation programs are a tax benefit that states and counties in the South are using to encourage forestland owners to leave forest as forest and help resist development pressure.

World Resources Institute

Future


There is no doubt that we are facing a health crisis in our forests. Climate change places them under increasing stress that exacerbates the threats of fire, disease, and insects. Restoring forest ecosystems will make forests more resilient to climate-induced stresses and will ensure that our forests continue to supply abundant, clean water. In developing a shared vision around forests, we must also be willing to look across property boundaries.

Tom Vilsack | US Secretary of Agriculture

“What we need is smart planning, on a landscape-level, irrespective of manmade lines on a map. We need to take a holistic look at an ecosystem.”

Sally Jewell | U.S. Secretary of Interior

The conservation movement in recent decades is undergoing a transition. The future of conservation relies on the responsible stewardship of protected properties and the private forestlands contained in the surrounding ecosystem. A suite of existential threats to forestlands (climate change, invasive species, fragmentation) that will likely grow more severe in the future necessitate proactive stewardship and positive impact forestry to sustain ecological balance and health of our forests for present and future generations. EcoForesters partners with conservation organizations to develop landscape scale strategies to comprehensively address the threats of an ecosystem, using the tools of positive impact forestry, on both protected and unprotected private properties.


Our Mission

EcoForesters is a non-profit organization led by professional foresters dedicated to using positive impact forestry and natural resource education to conserve and restore ecological resilience to our Appalachian forests.