See the Forest for the Trees

From landowners to mill operators, best management practices safeguard the future of our woodlands.

Eric Roush easily sees the forest for the trees. With 27 years of experience as a forester with Glatfelter, he understands the complex system of supplying wood fiber to the mills better than most.

“As foresters, we’ve always managed sustainably because our interests were in the future of the forest and making sure it was there for the next generation,” says Roush, who is now Glatfelter’s woodlands operations manager in Chillicothe, Ohio.

The future of paper, after all, is inextricably linked with the future of forests. Glatfelter mills in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania, and Chillicothe continually draw from surrounding forests in the Eastern region of the United States for their wood fiber.

The vast majority of these forests are owned by small, private landowners who form the heart of a complex forest products industry, which includes foresters, forestry consultants, loggers, sawmills, and paper mills. To harvest trees, they work together using responsible forestry practices that protect the soil, water resources, and wildlife—now and into the future.

And it’s working. According to a 2013 report published by the U.S. Forest Service, Ohio’s forest cover has doubled in area since 1942.

With the growth cycle of hardwood trees ranging from 60 – 80 years and softwood trees nearing 40 years, management plans are complicated—and carefully drawn—affairs. Roush and his team work to identify differing species of trees, flora, and fauna; assess erosion, insect, and disease risks; and plan not only the cutting and harvesting of timber stands but also the planting and cultivation of new stands for future growth.

Certifications from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) offer much needed visibility to the process. “People have something they can look at and recognize that this is being managed to a set of standards,” says Roush, referring to the organizations’ trademarks seen on packaging and paper products.

Preserving forests and the forest products industry comes down to responsibility. “We want our paper customers to understand that we do care about the environment and what’s going on. They should feel good about buying paper from Glatfelter because we are doing things right,” says Roush.