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Apple purchases 36,000 acres of timberland for packaging

The initiative with The Conservation Fund will protect working forests while providing Apple with a source of eco-friendly packaging materials.

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In mid-April, tech giant Apple revealed that it has purchased up to 36,000 acres of American timberland in Maine and North Carolina, in partnership with The Conservation Fund, in an effort to preserve forests while developing a source for eco-friendly packaging for its products.

“Apple is clearly leading by example—one that we hope others will follow,” said Larry Selzer, President and CEO of The Conservation Fund, during the April 16 announcement. “By all accounts, the loss of America’s working forests is one of our nation’s greatest environmental challenges. The initiative announced today is precedent-setting.”

The forests that Apple and The Conservation Fund are protecting are larger than the land area of the City of San Francisco. Through its commitment, Apple will be able to ensure a steady supply of sustainably harvested timber to paper and pulp mills.

The largest working forest is Reed Forest in Aroostook County, ME, where Apple and The Conservation Fund are protecting more than 32,400 acres on the Mattawamkeag River. Reed’s wetlands, rivers, and upland forest provide refuge in Maine’s North Woods for Atlantic salmon, bald eagle, northern goshawk, and Canada lynx. The project builds on a broader landscape of more than 1 million acres of conserved lands and interconnected forest habitat that stretches beyond the border into New Brunswick, Canada. Reed Forest will remain a working forest, ensuring continued fiber production and protecting jobs and recreational opportunities.

The partnership will also protect more than 3,600 acres of pine and hardwood forest in Brunswick County, along the southern coast of North Carolina. This property sits adjacent to the 17,000-acre Green Swamp Preserve, which builds connectivity and halts fragmentation for this National Natural Landmark. With high-quality pine savannas and striking and unusual plants and flowers, it had long been a conservation priority. The Brunswick Forest will be managed by the Fund as a sustainable working forest.

Apple’s initiative protects forestlands through The Conservation Fund’s Working Forest Fund (WFF). Pioneered by the Fund in the late 1990s, the program is an entirely new model for acquiring and permanently protecting ecologically significant portions of America’s last, large, intact privately held forests. The program places conservation easements on the land, which ensure sustainable harvests and restrict the subdivision or conversion of land to non-forest uses. In addition, this land can only be sold with the conservation easements intact, and sale proceeds are reinvested to protect other vulnerable forestlands.

WFF also uses forest management strategies to enhance forest health and productivity, wildlife habitat, CO2 sequestration, and water quality, while supporting the economic vitality of surrounding communities.

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