The acquired land was damaged by Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 storm that hit the Florida panhandle and surrounding areas in October 2018. The hurricane caused heavy winds, storm surge and flooding, damaging 3 million acres of forestland in its wake.
Ingka Group, the parent company of IKEA, plans to plant 650,000 seedlings of mostly longleaf pine, which is relatively more resilient to forest fires, in the Tupelo Honey forest. Longleaf pine is also known to serve as a habitat for endangered animals such as gopher tortoises, dusky gopher frogs, pine snakes and red-cockaded woodpeckers.
“The new forests will support increased biodiversity, help ensure sustainable timber production from responsibly managed forests, and recover land damaged by Hurricane Michael in October 2018,” the company said.
Other than the U.S., the company has also acquired forestland in New Zealand and Europe, owning a total of 250,000 hectares of land.
“The afforestation business … is a long-term investment that consolidates our business while also positively impacting the climate through the absorption of CO2 during the forests’ growth,” Krister Mattsson, head of Ingka Group’s investment arm Ingka Investments, said in a statement.