Forest Stewards, a nonprofit that crafts custom forest management plans for tracts large and small, won the 2014 Award for Sustainable Forestry in the second annual round of Root Cause Awards.
Rob Lamb, the director of Forest Stewards, follows the principles of what he calls “positive impact forestry.”
“A legacy of resource exploitation has left many forests degraded,” Lamb said. “We implement forest management toward restoring the condition of our forests while making them more resistant to current and future stresses.”
As a nonprofit, Forest Stewards provides technical expertise at cost, removing the potential for conflicts of interest from profit motives.
Forest Stewards has developed land stewardship plans for over 200 clients representing over 100,000 acres, from family landowners to land trusts to timberland investors. It provides forest management oversight for the 9,000-acre watershed for the town of Waynesville and is developing a landscape-scale forest plan for the 49,000 acres that encompass the Qualla Boundary.
The group collaborates with land trusts, helping landowners with high-value conservation properties protect them for the long term and engages with students and professors to increase understanding of the forests. The organization has guided two carbon offset projects.