Drax’s support for US forest initiative helps wildlife return to family land

A US south forest initiative, supported by Drax, has helped wildlife return to family land surrounding Drax’s Morehouse Bioenergy pellet plant in Arkansas.

The Morehouse Family Forest Initiative (MFFI) – a conservation programme set up in 2017 through a partnership with Drax Biomass and the American Forest Foundation - encourages the sustainable management of the forests surrounding Drax’s facility by connecting landowners with natural resource professionals who can help them achieve their objectives for their forests.

For the past three years, Goggans has participated in the MFFI programme. Recently, for the first time in more than 40 years, Miles Goggans and his brother-in-law heard quail calling through their pine forest in southeastern Arkansas.

“They all disappeared after the big drought in the 1980s when the land was in cotton,” said Goggans, “but now they’re back. Hearing the quail really demonstrates the positive effect that actively managing the forests can have on an area in a relatively short period of time.”

For family forest owners, who own around 80% of the forests in the US South, their goals typically include improving wildlife habitat and recreational value of their property for activities such as hunting, while also ensuring the growth of high-value saw-timber for long-term returns.

Harvesting the small, misshapen, and diseased trees in a process known as ‘thinning’ is important to healthy forests, because it ensures there is enough space and light to help the stronger, healthier trees to grow better, as these produce high-value saw-timber required for the construction and furniture industries.

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