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About Us

The Wildlife Conservation Initiative (WCI) is a voluntary, collaborative partnership between the National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc. (NCASI) to conserve fish and wildlife species on private working forests.

The WCI, which began as individual, regional collaborations, has now grown into a formal, agency-wide initiative and a model for engaging forest owners, federal and state agencies, and stakeholders in effective voluntary species conservation.

The WCI has a very simple objective: to conserve common, at-risk, threatened, and endangered species through active forest management of private working forests.

The WCI also operates simply. NAFO member companies partner with NCASI, the USFWS, and other collaborators to identify priority species that need private working forests for their habitat, collect field data on how active forest management affects species and, in some cases, wildlife communities, and use the data to determine together how to maintain and improve conservation benefits.

The WCI has ongoing species conservation projects in every USFWS region where NAFO members own or manage significant acres of forest land and is demonstrating the value of active forest management as a wildlife conservation tool.

The WCI was founded on the recognition that private working forests are an important conservation tool. NAFO members own and manage more than 44 million acres of private working forests in 34 states – a scale needed to achieve conservation success for many species.

NAFO members demonstrate their ongoing commitment to species conservation through independent, third-party verification that they manage their forests sustainably.

Download the Wildlife Conservation Initiative Overview PDF.

A group of people wearing sunglasses and hats stand in a young forest in Florida.
A brown furry forest creature stands under a fern branch.

Collaborative Conservation Outcomes

Collaborative conservation through the WCI delivers positive outcomes for wildlife.
The USFWS has cited the benefits of active forest management, private land access for researchers, and forest certification as significant contributions to species conservation, negating the need for intervention. These successes are the result of proactive and voluntary conservation efforts, with government and private working forest owners working together to benefit species.
In this way, the WCI advances collaborative conservation efforts on working lands and helps the Endangered Species Act work better for at-risk species, forest owners, and the USFWS.
A First-Of-Its-Kind Partnership

In January 2023, NAFO, USFWS, and NCASI signed a groundbreaking Memorandum of Understanding formalizing the WCI as a programmatic partnership for voluntary and proactive collaborative conservation.

Sustainable Forest Management

Wildlife thrives in actively managed working forests. Sustainable forest management integrates the production of useful renewable products with conservation of healthy and diverse forest ecosystems across the landscape.

Support from NAFO Member Leaders