Forestry Co-ops Take Root

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					            Forestry Co-ops Take Root

By Jane Braxton Little                                          Cooperative is providing support and critical links that are
                                                                helping them manage their forests sustainably for wood,
Editor’s note: Little is a California-based writer.             water, wildlife and recreation. Ultimately, the co-op may make
                                                                the difference between lands that remain forested and those
                  hen Don Flournoy decided to thin a portion    that become parceled into smaller and smaller tracts that are
                  of his 235-acre Sugar Bush Farm, he wanted    no longer economically productive or ecologically functional.
                  to use a “light-on-the-land” logging method      Other forestry co-ops in different parts of the country are
                  that would not damage his property. He knew   providing similar services to landowners.
                  right where to find help: The Ohio Forestry      A “bootstrap” operation first incorporated as the Ohio
Cooperative.                                                    Premium Pine Cooperative (OPPC) in 2004, the co-op began
   The organization of Ohio forest landowners put Flournoy      as a group of tree farmers who banded together to market
in touch with a horse logger who uses lightweight equipment     their pine products. As they worked to improve their pine
suited to his mixed-hardwood forest. The results left him       plantings that had been established on “beat-up” hill farms,
satisfied — “very satisfied,” says Flournoy, an international   some members realized that the services of the cooperative
telecommunications consultant and professor at Ohio             could, and should, be extended beyond pine to sustainable
University in Athens.                                           management and marketing of their members’ hardwood
   For forest landowners such as Flournoy, the Ohio Forestry    forests, as well.

14 March/April 2009 / Rural Cooperatives
                        They recently reorganized as a “holistic” forest       technical assistance and targeted services
                        cooperative, offering landowners services that         around financing and marketing.
                        range from marketing and logging contract                 The Ohio Forestry Co-op is in the process
                        preparation to forest management plans.                of applying for certification under the Forest
                                                                               Stewardship Council for its members’ forests,
                        Forest needs vary greatly                              which total more than 5,000 acres and
                           Not all forests need the same treatment, says 
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