About Us

Our Mission

Our mission is to protect forested ecosystems and support rural communities through working forests, to raise awareness of the importance of conserving intact forested ecosystems, and to highlight sustainable forestry practices for the benefit of the land.

Our Vision

We envision an abundance of intact forest ecosystems that provide for the widest range of native biodiversity possible, sustainable forest products, the economic viability of rural communities and recreational opportunities. Our management philosophy is to partner with nature.

Our Forest Management Principles

Selecting Trees for Harvest

Horse Logging

Where We Started

In 2004 Troy and Lynn Firth started the Firth Family Foundation to manage and protect their timberlands in perpetuity. In 2009 after realizing that there is broader demand for a conservation entity active in forest management we became the Foundation for Troy and Lynn FirthSustainable Forests and began work with landowners around the region. Today our land base has grown to more than 900 acres. For landowners concerned about the future of their forest we offer a way to continue a legacy of stewardship beyond their tenure. Through donations, grants and proceeds we continue an active program of land acquisition and education. In timber-dependent communities, such as those found in Northwest Pennsylvania, it is crucial that land protection efforts do not stifle the local economy. Rather than preserving land untouched the Foundation for Sustainable Forests is actively managing our timber resource to provide the forest products and ecosystem services that people depend on. By functioning within the local community we are better positioned to educate the public about sustainable forestry and therefore impact a greater area.

Forestry Practices

Our Forest Management Principles:

  • Be reactive in our assessment and proactive in our approach: Let conditions recommend the management rather than dictating conditions through management.
  • Maximize Options: To accommodate future variables, management should create diversity and opportunity.
  • Emphasize art, not just science: Our scientific understanding is limited to a single generation of trees. Therefore, personal experience and intuition must play a role.

Selecting Trees for Harvest

Good forestry inherently involves long-term management. Trees often have a lifespan of several hundred years so growing a healthy forest cannot be accomplished with short-term economic priorities. When deciding which trees will be cut we must ignore the value of the tree and focus instead on its health and potential and the forest as a whole. Using ''worst-first'' tree selection means that we harvest only the unhealthy, undesirable or worst trees. This leaves behind a forest stand of healthy, high quality trees that will yield the best long-term economic return and improve the overall health of the ecosystem. By avoiding large scale clearcuts and other intensive, industrial practices our forests become a mosaic of trees with different heights, species, and functions. In many cases our early management is a matter of restorative forestry. Diverse forests are better able to provide habitat and to respond to future impacts.

Horse Logging

When practicing good forestry we are more interested in the trees being left in the woods than those being removed. Because of this it is important that we do no damage to the residual trees during a harvest. 

Rather than removing logs with a large machine we most often utilize teams of horses to skid from the stump to a roadway. Since horses are lighter and smaller than conventional machinery we are able to navigate through the forest without scraping against trees and rutting the soil. Less power translates to less damage and horse logging leaves a forest with healthier trees, soils and waterways.