Haa Ani

Protecting an Emerald Edge




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.