This is the story of John Ross and his family’s decision to work with their consulting forester, Jon Lindsay, to enroll their 7,500 acre property in the Natural Capital Exchange’s Summer 2021 cycle. Located in Savannah, Tennessee, the Ross family land, which is well stocked with hardwoods, was originally purchased by his great grandfather in 1881 and passed down through the generations. For the past two decades John has worked with consulting foresters for their expertise in how to best manage the land he loves.
For years, the Ross family has looked to Jon’s firm for advice on how to balance and achieve various land management objectives, ranging from generating revenue to maintaining forest health so the land can be enjoyed as an activity space. Understanding how to best implement forest management practices year after year, can be a complex and difficult decision for landowners, and that’s why consulting foresters, like Jon, are a crucial partner for both landowners and the Natural Capital Exchange.
Foresters have a deep understanding of which silvicultural practices to apply to maximize timber growth, remove invasive species, and preserve critical wildlife habitats while also leading the coordination of timber sales to guarantee landowners, like John, generate returns on their property to ensure sustainable management into the future.
Historically, properties like John’s have been managed exclusively for timber markets, harvesting when merchantable to meet the cash flow needs of the family. With timber harvesting as the only option available to landowners, flexible management options are slim. The Natural Capital Exchange is uniquely positioned to provide an alternative revenue stream to landowners who elect to defer timber harvests for an annual term. Foresters, as the experts in the field, are able to evaluate the Natural Capital Exchange, sharing it with clients who may be a good fit, deciding then how to best work it into an existing management plan.
On working with his consulting forester to understand how to include the Natural Capital Exchange in his management plan, John says ‘Jon helped me figure out optimally, how much we’d like to cut this year, coordinating it with our harvest plan. We just talked about what we’d normally look at harvesting and how we can back off that to make this work with NCX and discussed [what those options looked like].’
John’s hope is that ‘[the NCX] program will encourage better management, to cut part of it but hold onto the rest and receive additional income in the meantime. I think it’ll have a huge conservation value in keeping good, healthy forests.’
Every piece of land offers benefits to society – ranging from carbon sequestration to habitat preservation and even simply, a place for relaxation and recreation. While John and his family have the closest connection to their land, society as a whole also recognizes the ecosystem benefits that John’s forest provides.
That’s why landowners and foresters will always be at the center of all that we do. By offering an innovative solution through our Natural Capital Exchange, families, together with their forester can choose which programs to participate in to help craft and shape a future we all deserve.
Interested in learning more? Visit ncx.com/landowners