Forests are essential to the health and quality of life of people everywhere. Forests renew the air we breathe and moderate our global climate. Forests are essential to the health and quality of life of people everywhere. They give us fiber, food, fuel and fresh water; in fact, about two-thirds of people worldwide depend on supplies from forests for all or some of their water. And more than 1 billion people living in extreme poverty around the world depend on forests for their livelihoods.
But nearly half of the world's forest cover has disappeared, and the rest is at risk from invasive species, illegal logging and altered natural fire regimes.
The Nature Conservancy is committed to protecting and rebuilding forests around the world, but we know that to achieve long-term and lasting success, we need the assistance and support of the private sector. Recognizing the importance and threat to forests everywhere, the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation stepped up to address the challenge. Through its foundation, Lowe's has proven to be a valued corporate supporter, helping to fund a variety of conservation projects across the United States and Canada. Lowe's focus on one of the Conservancy's most important strategic initiatives – the forests of North America – has brought crucial funding to the Conservancy’s largest and most important forestry projects. Our partnership is an extension of the values and commitment Lowe's makes throughout its retail operations and through the types of products it offers its customers.
Since 2005, Lowe’s has contributed more than $7.5 million through its foundation to help fund forest projects across the United States and Canada, with a focus on advancing conservation at a scale needed to protect biodiversity and natural areas for future generations.
Solutions in Action
The support of Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation has led to significant recent North American forest conservation successes including:
Montana – For several years, Lowe’s has been a strong supporter of the “Crown of the Continent” forest conservation project, which has used public and private funding to secure more than 300,000 acres of land and transfer it into public ownership for perpetuity. In 2011 alone, more than 150,000 acres was handed over to the U.S. Forest Service to protect a fully functioning biological ecosystem.
Additional efforts have worked closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildfire Service in establishing habitats for endangered species, and our work in Montana has led to 60 miles of critical stream habitat being fully protected for the threatened bull trout.
New York – Thanks to the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation, 175,600 Adirondack acres will be protected forever. In the summer of 2011 at Follensby Pond, scientists conducted a “BioBlitz” - an intensive 24-hour biological inventory, where scientists attempt to identify and record all species of living organisms in a given area. Participants cataloged more than 540 species, including the Violet Variable Dancer (a type of damselfly), Johnny Darter (small fish native to North American streams and lakes), Magnolia Warbler, and Peppered Moth.
Washington – Both The Nature Conservancy and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation are committed to positively impacting the health and prosperity of the communities in which we live and work. Our work together has advanced an ambitious effort to restore wild salmon runs along the Washington Coast. In this part of the world, salmon tie together coastal environments and connect oceans, rivers, forests, mountains and glaciers. Unfortunately, salmon numbers are declining, threatening the future of ecosystems as well as traditional economies and cultures. Lowe’s generous support enabled the Conservancy to begin addressing these trends as we work toward a goal of tripling the number of wild salmon in this important region. The Conservancy plans to restore 5,655 acres of forests to old-growth conditions – using what we’ve learned through nearby forest restoration experiments – so that the Clearwater River will once again be a premier salmon spawning river.
A Sustainable Future
These projects are just a few examples of the major conservation success stories that have resulted from the generosity of Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation. In 2012, Lowe’s continues to support Conservancy's efforts to protect the watersheds of Central Texas, create a water fund investment program in Albuquerque, New Mexico, preserve Virginia forests near the Chesapeake Bay, and ensure sustainable forestry in the Boreal Forest of British Columbia, among other initiatives. Each of these projects takes a holistic look at ecosystem protection and provides benefits to the local residents, wildlife and natural resources of the region. These examples are just a few of the many ways that Lowe’s has been a valuable partner in supporting the Conservancy’s forest conservation efforts, and conservation goals overall. For more on Lowe’s work with The Nature Conservancy, visit Lowes.com/socialresponsibility.