Video highlights White Oak Initiative's sustainability efforts
December 15, 2020 | 2:43 pm CST

A consortium of private landowners, universities, state and federal agencies, conservation organizations, trade associations, and forest industries have come together as the White Oak Initiative, driven to increase the amount of white oak timber stands available in the future.

According to the group's website, white oak is a valued species for furniture, cabinetry, flooring and other secondary wood products. White oak is also critical to many wildlife species, as well as for recreational activities like hunting, generating billions of dollars to local economies throughout the white oak region.

While white oak growing stocks are currently sufficient to meet demand, forest monitoring, and long-term projections indicate problems to maintain high-quality white oak regeneration, according to the White Oak Initiative. Challenges facing white oak's widescale replenishment include:

  • Lack of active forest management, leading to dense low-quality stands — shading the oak seedlings and preventing the growth of quality trees and the regeneration of new oak trees;
  • Widespread invasive species and disease;
  • Changing climate conditions affecting oak growth and regeneration;
  • Marginalization and fragmentation of forest land; and 
  • Lack of recognition of long-term threats to oak forests.

The White Oak Initiative seeks to meet these challenges by improving existing stands of timber and replanting white oak on lands that are poorly stocked.  

The White Oak Initiative was formed in late 2017. Its diverse membership includes the U.S. Forest Service, Kentucky Forest Industries Association, Beam Suntory, Independent State Company, Columbia Forest Products and National Wild Turkey Federation.


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Rich Christianson | President/Owner/C-Level

Rich Christianson is the owner of Richson Media LLC, a Chicago-based communications firm focused on the industrial woodworking sector. Rich is the former long-time editorial director and associate publisher of Woodworking Network. During his nearly 35-year career, Rich has toured more than 250 woodworking operations throughout North America, Europe and Asia and has written extensively on woodworking technology, design and supply trends. He has also directed and promoted dozens of woodworking trade shows, conferences and seminars including the Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo and the Woodworking Machinery & Supply Conference & Expo, Canada’s largest woodworking show.