Kites in the Trees
International Paper has worked alongside the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) since 2020 to develop bird-focused management recommendations for private forest landowners, including special practices landowners can employ to ensure habitat is maintained for recovery of at-risk bird species specifically the Swallow-tailed Kite. This great work was featured on Making It Grow, an award-winning program produced by SCETV and Clemson University.
Having birds in both forested and recently harvested areas is a sign that the forest is healthy and providing important environmental benefits. Birds rely on a variety of forest types and conditions, and landowners play an important role in managing their forestland to enhance habitat conditions for birds and all wildlife.
With expertise from scientists with Avian Research and Conservation Institute (ARCI), IP and ABC captured three Swallow-tailed Kites that were outfitted with GPS transmitters near International Paper's paper mill in Georgetown, S.C.
Over the next several years, the activity and locations of these three birds will be recorded and analyzed by ARCI to further understand their specific habitats used for nesting, foraging, and roosting. This data will be critical to further improving the sustainable forest management techniques used by landowners and managers that supply wood fiber to International Paper. By successfully managing and creating nesting and foraging habitat conditions for the Swallow-tailed Kite, countless other wildlife species that share the same habitat needs will also benefit.
Data on kite movements also enhanced data layers already in ForsiteTM and directly influenced harvest plans on tracts associated with kite activity centers. ForsiteTM is International Paper's innovative mapping app and due diligence system, which guides responsible fiber procurement on non-certified forestland. Using the app ensures procurement activities maintain or enhance the environmental values of those forests.
“Birds are one of the most identifiable and measurable components of biodiversity of a working forest," said Jeremy Poirier, Manager Fiber Certification and Sustainability, International Paper. “Partnering with ABC just makes a lot of sense. At our core, both of us share the need for sustainably managed forests to support our needs and mission.”