Wal-Mart Makes Hefty California Forest Purchase

Last month, we told you about the retail giant's purchase of green power in Canada, and we told you about the green roof sprouting in Chicago. But, yep, Wal-Mart, the company some treehuggers love to hate, has more green news. With a $1 million grant to the Pacific Forest Trust and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and a $7.3 million acquisition, the retail giant has purchased over 9,000 acres of commercial forests in California. Serving more than 250 species of wildlife and located in the Klamath-Cascade region, the McCloud forestlands will link two million acres of protected lands near the towns of McCloud and Ponderosa, according to press material. Now what does this mean exactly? Chances are the move comes in part, due to a lack of conservation funds. When large blocks of land go on the market, perhaps due to dire financial situation of the U.S.-owned forest products sector, conservation organizations just don’t have enough backing to take on all the land. Here steps in the wealthy international corporations.

The transaction is the largest working forest conservation easement granted by a private forest owner in the state and first to include lands owned and managed by a major commercial timberland interest, Wal-Mart says.

In the long run, these lands will remain protected and undeveloped. Other than public recreation and outdoor pursuits (fishing, hiking), and the continuation of sustainable timber harvests—which help drive the local economy—conservation continues. This bigwig may be jumping on the green bandwagon, but if others follow....we really can't complain. (Thanks go to TreeHugger's John Laumer for help with this one) ::Wal-Mart