As 2019 closes, RFFI is writing a new chapter, RFFI 4.0. Redwood forests are vital to combatting climate change, providing essential habitat and supporting local economies. Yet, only 110,000 acres of old growth Coast Redwoods remain, 5% of the original. At the same time, over 1.2 million acres of previ- ously harvested Redwood lands are in private own- ership, many still heavily logged. How will these forests be managed to benefit their communities into the future?
RFFI’s first 22 years were dedicated to creating a model for managing working forests that would answer this question. Now it is time to take the next step and expand the impact of the RFFI model on future forest management.
RFFI 1.0 (1997 to 2007) – Community leaders responded to the 1990s Timber Wars by founding RFFI in 1997 with a mission that still guides us today centered on the Three Es: Ecology, Economy and social Equity.
RFFI 2.0 (2007 to 2012) – We boldly purchased the 50,000-acre Usal Redwood Forest with a $65 million Bank of America loan. RFFI developed a market-based strategy using private capital to leverage public, philanthropic, conservation and preservation funding, along with timber sales and usage fees, to retire the debt. After weathering the 2008 recession, RFFI implemented this strategy and twelve years later we are in full compliance with our loan, improving forest health and creating community jobs.
RFFI 3.0 – (2013 to 2019) – RFFI completed our first two sustainable timber harvests, suspended herbicide use, achieved FSC® certification, completed $5 million in watershed restoration, and registered California’s largest forest carbon offset project. In 2016, we took over Usal management and hired our first forestry team led by respected Chief Forester Linwood Gill.
Over the years, RFFI has forged many strong community partnerships. In 2019 alone, we worked closely with Trout Unlimited, CalFire, CA Fish & Wildlife, the Community Foundation of Mendocino County, Mead Family Foundation, Weyer- haeuser Family Foundation, local tribal peoples, Tree Media, Sonoma Ecology Center & Sonoma Biochar Initiative, California Roots, the Fort Bragg HS Anchor Academy and others.
Now, twelve years into Usal ownership, we are proud of our achievements, as well as RFFI’s climate action leadership featured in the 2019 HBO documentary “Ice on Fire.”
As 2020 opens, we are writing our most important chapter, RFFI 4.0. This is the defining moment where we will answer questions about RFFI’s future direction, including: (a) can RFFI’s model guide the sustainable forest management move- ment around the nation and world? (b) what is RFFI’s future role as a climate action innovator? (c) how can RFFI increase benefits to local communities? and (d) how will we pay for these programs?
Help RFFI write this exciting chapter. We can only succeed with the participation of our entire community, including you! As you make your year-end giving deci-sions, please make your most generous contribution to help RFFI lead this movement and reach our goal of raising $300,000 by March 2020! Together, we will have the greatest impact on the forest and communities of the future.