Campbell Global: Accelerating the pace and scale of forest restoration in Arizona

Campbell Global (CG) brings almost four decades of experience and leadership to timberland investment and management.  Environmental stewardship, social responsibility and operating in a transparent manner are inherent to CG's core values.

CG aligns its business to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the implementation of sustainable forest practices. Improving forest health and fire resiliency have the potential to provide an engine for local economic growth, protect the safety of rural communities, improve regional water supply, and enhance carbon sequestration capacity on federal forests.

Summary

In the western United States, decades of fire suppression on public forests have created an urgent need for forest restoration. High-density forests are prone to widespread, intense wildfires resulting in the release of significant quantities of carbon into the atmosphere contributing to climate change.

In 2016, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), in partnership with Campbell Global (CG) and the United States Forest Service (USFS), launched the Future Forests Project in Arizona, where approximately 25% of the historic ponderosa pine forest has been destroyed by wildfires over the last 20 years. The project is focused on accelerating the pace and scale of forest restoration on public lands, by working with key stakeholders to introduce new technologies and innovative approaches that improve the economics of restoration activities. Since the project’s inception, more than 770 hectares have been restored.

Background

Campbell Global identified an opportunity to utilize its forest management and investment expertise to help accelerate the pace and scale of forest restoration activities by collaborating with key stakeholders in the forestry sector. Our project directly contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals 6, 8, 9, 11 and 13 by improving and protecting municipal water supplies, creating living wage jobs, promoting sustainable communities and enhancing carbon sequestration, positively contributing to climate action goals.

Efforts to restore these forests have been hampered by a lack of wood flow certainty from federal timber sales, limited manufacturing capacity, logging contractor availability, the relatively low value of ponderosa pine products and high freight costs. In the past, forest management practices and the regional wood industry focused on large-tree log products.  New systems and processes are needed that derive value from the small diameter logs and woody biomass that are generated from today’s forest restoration treatments.

Initiative

The Future Forests Project’s overarching goal is to create conditions that enable effective and accelerated forest restoration treatments to address landscape-level challenges, which not only require the formation of sustainable ecosystems, but also the development of sustainable industries.  This can only be achieved if businesses are appropriately scaled to harvest, process, and sell wood products.

The USFS provided personnel and 20,000 acres of public forests targeted for restoration to test innovative and cost-efficient management practices, while TNC provides technical leadership and funding to enable innovation and guide the learning process. CG’s role is to manage the planning and implementation of forest management activities.

Today, many portions of the forest-restoration chain in northern Arizona remain broken or disconnected. Success will be evident as the USFS becomes an efficient and reliable raw-material supplier that attracts private capital to the region, ultimately unlocking the full capacity of these forests to provide clean water and air, bolster climate stability and sustain local communities.

Key outcomes & lessons learned

Since 2016, the Future Forest Project produced several significant achievements, including:

  • Restoring 1,900 acres of over-stocked forests (SDG 13),
  • Creating 12 jobs and supporting many more within the regional forest sector (SDG 8 and 11),
  • Demonstrating to the USFS that advanced technologies, such as digital cutting guides, and management processes can materially improve forest restoration economics,
  • Developing forest stewardship plans and forest thinning prescriptions for a municipal watershed covering three publicly owned forests, directly affecting residents and water supplies. (SDG 6 and 11) and

Salt River Project completed a coal-biomass, co-fire feasibility study for utilizing restoration by-products (SDG 9).

Next steps

The Future Forest Project continues to provide a platform for collaboration and innovation between TNC, CG, the USFS and other key stakeholders to increase the pace and scale of forest restoration activities in northern Arizona. Ongoing forest restoration work is planned through 2023 and is expected to further incorporate new technologies including LiDAR and the deployment of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

Future investments throughout the value chain will ultimately ensure the full utilization of restoration by-products to enhance the capacity of these public forests to offer valuable ecosystem services and a sustainable supply of wood products.

Key SDGs impacted

More information

To learn more about Campbell Global's projects and initiatives, please consult: 

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