The Ingka Group has acquired over 10,800 acres of land in southeastern Georgia to protect it from developments. Ingka is an investment group of the Swedish retail firm IKEA, which has several stores in the U.S. The group announced on January 14 that it will be purchasing land close to the Altamaha River Basin in a bid to conserve it.

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“We truly believe responsible forest management is possible and we see that a large part of our responsibility towards the land we own — and by extension the planet — is to restore forests and plant more than we harvest,” Krister Mattsson, managing director of Ingka Group, said. “In all our properties nature conservation is important. In this particular U.S. investment in Georgia, first it is important that the land cannot be broken up into small units and it remains forever forestland.”

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The land was acquired from a nonprofit conservation group, The Conservation Fund. The forest is home to many species of plants and animals, including the endangered longleaf pine and the gopher tortoise, which need to be protected by keeping the forest intact.

Before the arrival of Europeans in the U.S., the forest covered about 90 million acres. However, due to land clearing for development, fire suppression and agriculture, only 4% of the forest remains

After purchasing the land, Mattsson promised that Ingka Group will continue supporting the local timber industry. The group also plans to open the forest for recreational purposes.

“We are honored to work with Ingka Group and applaud its dedication to preserve and enhance forest quality in the U.S. and Europe,” said Larry Selzer, president of The Conservation Fund. “Well-managed forests provide essential benefits, including clean water and important wildlife habitat, as well as mitigating climate change.”

Ingka Group has been at the forefront of championing environmental conservation. The group has so far purchased about 613,000 acres of forested land in the U.S., Latvia, Estonia, Romania and Lithuania. Besides the recent purchase, the group also owns land in Oklahoma, South Carolina, Alabama and Texas.

Mattsson explained, “For all the forests we own, our commitment is to manage them responsibly, to preserve and increase the quality of the forests over time.”

+ Ingka Group


Image via David Mark