Why we help: Conserving and restoring Appalachian forests

Lang Hornthal

It is fitting that my path to EcoForesters and sustainable forestry began in the birthplace of modern forestry.

In 1997, I was drawn to Western North Carolina by the natural beauty and a plentiful supply of native hardwoods. For over 20 years, I was a furniture maker, using local wood and supporting area suppliers. Doing so allowed me to appreciate the forest products supply chain and how it impacts the Western North Carolina economy. I also watched the furniture industry move to China and the slow-moving collapse of the forest products infrastructure.

Wanting to do more, I found inspiration from groups such as the Appalachian Sustainable Agricultural Project, which showed me a positive way to support local supply chains that also support the region’s working lands and the families that are caring for them. My desire to do something similar with our forests led me into the field of sustainability and my current role as co-director of EcoForesters.

EcoForesters’ mission to conserve and restore Appalachian forests drives our team to share the realities of what we see daily in the forest and what science is telling us to do about it. Trees and forests are impacted over decades, so our biggest hurdle is to avoid the slow-rolling devastation to the region’s forests by collaborating with communities and supporting forestland owners. We are blessed to be in a region that supports conservation and the hard work done by local nonprofits. Thank you, Mountain Xpress, for all you’re doing to help!

— Lang Hornthal


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