In the Tongass, and throughout the Emerald Edge, the Nature Conservancy is investing in an innovative timber industry that ensures healthy forests and healthy local communities.
The 17-million-acre Tongass National Forest is in the uppermost part of the Emerald Edge – the world’s largest temperate rainforest, which stretches from southeast Alaska to coastal British Columbia and ends in Washington. Relentless loss of old-growth forests and widespread unemployment in some areas pose real threats to the people in this region, whose economic and cultural livelihood relies on a healthy forest system.
Throughout the Emerald Edge, many of the old-growth forests have been logged, leaving behind clusters of small-diameter trees, creating inadequate habitat for wildlife. Twenty-five years ago, the U.S. Forest Service outlined plans to solve this problem by developing a young-growth timber industry in the Tongass National Forest, but little progress has been made. In an effort to protect the remaining old-growth forests in the Tongass, TNC has facilitated a revolving loan to jumpstart a more sustainable young-growth forest industry.
The revolving loan will provide a model throughout the Emerald Edge for restoring forests and offering growth opportunities otherwise unavailable to small businesses.