Stewards of the Land, Faces of the Forest

In both the U.S. and Canada, responsible forest management has resulted in more than 50 consecutive years of net forest growth that exceeds annual forest harvests. And, research shows that a demand for wood products keeps forests as forests. Strong markets for wood products encourage forest owners to keep their lands as forests and invest in practices to keep trees healthy.

Sustainable forest management—a cycle of growing, harvesting, and replanting—ensures working forests remain as forests. It is supported by federal, state, provincial and local regulations that protect water quality, wildlife habitat, soil and other natural resources.

Behind the facts and figures.
Behind these facts and figures are company employees and family-owned businesses whose livelihoods are dedicated to keeping our forests healthy and growing for decades to come.

Whether it’s managing forests or bringing wood products to market, landowners and lumber companies create jobs and support communities, while ensuring ongoing reforestation and offsetting the impacts of climate change. These are the faces of the forest.

A Tree Farm Operation Carries On a Family Legacy

Avis Gray and her daughter Jordyn are the proud owners/operators of a small tree farm in the tidewaters of eastern North Carolina.

At first blush, Avis, a public speaking teacher, and Jordyn, a college freshman studying archaeology, may seem to be unlikely foresters. 

But after inheriting the property from her grandfather in 2011, Avis and her family embarked on a journey that turned an unattended brush field into a 67-acre pine forest.

Jordyn Gray
Gray Family Farms
It’s more sustainable to harvest trees once they reach a certain age, then immediately replant so we can keep this cycle continuing on for generations to come.

“When we plant trees we leave something for our children and our grandchildren. You live off the land. The land feeds you and you do what you’re supposed to do to feed it,” adds Avis.

Along with a source of livelihood for their family, these fast-growing trees support local wildlife, clean the air and store carbon–and will eventually provide businesses with sustainable forest products.

Illustration for the sustainable forestry cycle
Sustainable Forestry Provides for The Next Generation

Tyrone Williams, his wife Edna, and their three sons–Trevelyn, Tremaine, and Tyron–own and operate Fourtee Acres, a 62-acre forest in Enfield, North Carolina. Tyrone is using sustainable forestry as a tool to increase his family’s income and land value, with a broader goal of providing future generations with a better quality of life. He knew he wanted to restore the woodlands, use the property as an income source, and ensure he could pass the land on to his sons. 

The family connected with the Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Project, a program that helps African American landowners care for their forestland and pass it on to the next generation. Equipped with new knowledge, Fourtee Acres began to change.

Today, Tyrone and Edna host other minority landowners on their property, speak at events, and lead seminars on how to keep land in the family. “Our family enterprise is engaged in and committed to sustainability for the future. The Sustainable Forestry and Land Retention Project has led the way and been a centerpiece in our family journey,” explained Tyrone.

Katie Fernholz, the CEO of Dovetail Partners, an environmental non-profit, puts Tyrone’s story in the larger context of the economic drivers that support sustainable working forests and the role they play in mitigating the impacts of climate change.

Plumcreek forest Oregon
If land owners can make a living growing trees, then they can choose to keep forests as forests. A win for families, communities and the health of our planet.
Katie Fernholz
Dovetail Partners

Explore working forests in your state.

Learn more about how healthy forests are supporting your communities and creating jobs in your neck of the woods.

Green with Pride

These stories are only a glimpse into the many people who make up the forest sector:   foresters, scientists, tree-planters, loggers and truck-drivers, mill workers, and more.

They work to keep forests healthy, producing more sustainable wood products, making our daily lives better and providing solutions to the pressing challenges of a changing climate.Explore more stories of the forest proud community at

Deep Dive

Want to learn more?

Check out our continuing education unit (CEU) The Impact of Wood Use on North American Forests

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Dr. Edie Sonne Hall answers your top 10 Questions on Sustainable Forestry

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