Ingka Group today announces it has acquired forestland property in the U.S. from The Conservation Fund, a non-profit conservation organisation that has protected over 8 million acres of land in the US. The acquisition strengthens Ingka Group’s commitment to responsible forest management, as conservation measures are fully included in the forest management plans.
The property is located in southeast Georgia near the Altamaha River Basin, designed for its high conservation value. It consists of approximately 4,386 hectares (10,840 acres). The forestland was sold to Ingka Group due to the company’s proven responsible forest management and will be managed by Ingka Investments, the investment arm of Ingka Group.
“We are honoured to work with Ingka Group and applaud its dedication to preserve and enhance forest quality in the U.S. and Europe. Well-managed forests provide essential benefits, including clean water and important wildlife habitat, as well as mitigating climate change,” said Larry Selzer, President and CEO of The Conservation Fund.
Ingka Group has assumed all legally binding agreements set in place by The Conservation Fund which include the obligation to protect the land from fragmentation, restore the longleaf pine forest, and safe-guard the habitat of the gopher tortoise (a priority species for conservation). Under these agreements the public will continue to enjoy access to the lands normally forbidden by typical forestland owners.
“We are delighted to continue our forestland acquisitions in the U.S. With this new acquisition, we own roughly 55,000 hectares (136,000 acres) in five states – Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Texas and Oklahoma. This investment in Georgia is special to us as our partners from The Conservation Fund understood our long-term vision and have entrusted us to ensure the protection of the forestland,” says Krister Mattsson, Managing Director Ingka Investments.
“We are committed to managing our forests sustainably while at the same time meeting our business objectives. In all our properties, we pay special attention to ensuring environmental protection, so we are happy to see that our efforts in working with responsible forest management are being seen and trusted,” he says.
Ingka Group currently owns and responsibly manages around 248,000 hectares (approx. 613,000 acres) of forestland in the U.S. and Europe (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania). To guarantee the management meets the highest environmental and social standards, Ingka Group’s forest management is audited by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®). In all countries where it operates, the management units hold the FSC certificate for forest management.
Between September 2019 and August 2020 Ingka Group planted 600,000 seedlings afforesting 480 hectares (1,186 acres) in the U.S. and close to seven million seedlings at the level of the entire portfolio, around the world.
“The transfer of these lands to Ingka Investments completes our Working Forest Fund® process, through which we identify and buy important, at-risk private forests; develop sustainable harvest and restoration plans; secure permanent conservation protections to block fragmentation and development; and then resell the permanently conserved forest to a private or public buyer,” Larry Selzer adds.
 Ingka Group is a strategic partner in the IKEA franchise system, operating 380 IKEA stores in 31 countries. Ingka Group has three business areas: IKEA Retail, Ingka Investments and Ingka Centers.
Photos copyright of Stacy Funderburke. Please credit where used.