Keeping Forests as Forests is a partnership of over 40 organizations from across all sectors working together to sustain the future of one of America’s most important resources.


Keeping Forests as Forests was created as a broad regional initiative with a focus on maintaining the long-term economic and ecological viability of southern forests. This initiative is supported by a diverse coalition of both private and public stakeholders ranging from human health professionals to traditional forest product manufacturers and conservationists. This uniquely diverse partnership has coalesced around a common appreciation for the ecological, economic and social importance of our southern forests – and the need to develop new and innovative approaches to its long-term stewardship.


Our Vision and Goal

We envision a world where southern forests are valued as critical infrastructure that support the health, prosperity, security, and well-being of the American people.

To achieve this vision, we strive to shift the paradigm of forest conservation in the South from one focused on piecemeal protection to one focused on the stewardship of the inherent social, economic and ecological values of functional forest ecosystems for the benefit of current and future generations.

Our goal is to work together to foster new and innovative ways to protect and sustain the approximately 245 million acres of remaining southern forests. 

The ability of Keeping Forests as Forests to reach its goals will depend on the successful implementation of three overarching strategies:

  • We must reposition our forests as critical infrastructure worthy of public and private investment while finding ways of valuing the myriad of critical services our forests provide.

  • We must adopt a common regional identity to shape collective action in the South, creating a unified platform to influence policy which will lead to greater support for the conservation of southern forests.

  • Adopt a voluntary policy across the Region of “no net loss” of forestland. While understanding that some forestland will be converted to other land uses, the goal is to adopt a no net loss approach to stabilize existing forest cover and target reforestation to the most appropriate and critical areas.

How We Get There

Our Focus Areas 

Six work groups have been formed within the Keeping Forests as Forests collaboration to move the Partnership's strategic approaches forward.

  • Planning - the identification of critically important forested watersheds within the Region.

  • Policy – creation of the strategic policy and political actions needed to achieve KFAF goals.

  • Markets - the development of new markets for traditional and non-traditional forest products.

  • Public-Private Partnerships - the development of the public/private partnerships needed to sustain the initiative.

  • Communication - the development of the communication and outreach materials needed to advance KFAF’s goals.

  • Forest Values - the identification of traditional and non-traditional forests values important to both people and nature.