Doe Run’s commitment to be responsible with the resources in its care extends from the minerals mined underground to the land above. As part of this promise, Doe Run oversees more than 70,000 acres of land, including 35,000 acres of forests located around its operations in several counties in southeast Missouri.
“Many people see timber as a non-renewable resource because trees are removed in the process. This couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Dave Patterson, forester at Doe Run. “In fact, part of responsible forestry is harvesting some trees to give other growing trees room to thrive. Some trees can be harvested every year into the foreseeable future to provide timber-based products and valuable jobs when a forest is sustainably managed.”
In 2015, Doe Run-managed forests provided approximately 3 million board feet of timber used to create forest products, such as railroad cross ties, hardwood flooring, steel mill blocking, pallet material and cabinets. One company even uses the timber to make barrels for wine and spirits right here in Missouri.
Doe Run Partnerships Grow Missouri’s Economy (EC9)
In 2015, Doe Run supported Missouri businesses by spending more than $153 million with 632 Missouri vendors. This accounts for 43 percent of total company spending.
Read more about how the lead market influences Doe Run’s spending.
Doe Run’s Vision for Sustainable Forestry
Sustainable forestry means taking responsibility for the overall health of the ecosystem. Doe Run divides its forests into stands – sections of land up to 40 acres where trees and soil have similar characteristics. Forestry experts closely monitor the growth and health of each stand, and approximately every 15 to 20 years, Doe Run hires local loggers to harvest trees in a particular stand. A sawmill in Boss, Missouri, cuts those logs into green lumber, which is then purchased by local operations, such as a flooring plant and pallet-making company.
Harvesting trees in this systematic way allows Doe Run to provide timber to local partners, while also maintaining the ecological balance of the land. The surviving trees then have enough room in nutrient-rich soil to grow big and strong.
“When determining where to harvest, we take into consideration factors like the natural topography, soil, erosion patterns, water quality and the wildlife that live in that ecosystem of the forest,” said Patterson. “From there, we identify whether some trees need to be thinned out so stronger trees can grow to maturity. We also evaluate if we need to plant additional trees to help that ecosystem flourish. Doe Run’s goal for our responsible forestry is to work with mother nature and not disrupt the natural balance of our land.”
If an area of the forest needs to be replanted, crews plant the appropriate tree species to thrive in that environment. As of 2015, Doe Run has replanted approximately 600,000 seedlings throughout its forested land in southeast Missouri.
The Power of Missouri White Oak
White, black and red oak make up approximately 75 to 80 percent of Doe Run’s harvested timber. Most of the timber harvested from Doe Run’s forests supports products at a number of local companies. White oak in particular is highly desired for barrel making, which makes it a valuable local resource for Independent Stave Company, the world’s largest supplier of staved barrels for wine and spirits, based in Lebanon, Missouri.
“White oak trees grow slowly, which means they have more rings when they are harvested,” said Justin Nichols, log procurement manager at Independent Stave. “The rings in older trees are important in cooperage, or barrel making, because they provide a deeper flavor as the spirits or wine soak into the barrel. White oak’s chemical complexity offers a multitude of options for creating different flavors.
Doe Run serves as one of Independent Stave’s top ten suppliers of white oak timber. In 2015, Independent Stave purchased more than 200,000 board feet of white oak from Doe Run to craft barrels for wineries and distilleries around the world.
“We do not harvest any of our own timber. We rely on more than 2,000 Missouri suppliers to provide the white oak we need,” said Nichols. “Our partnership with Doe Run helps us provide customers with high-quality barrels, and supports jobs right here in Lebanon.”
From Bark to Barrels
Cooperage, or barrel making, is a multi-step process that can take three to six months to complete. Because Independent Stave’s white oak barrels are highly desired to age some of the finest wines and spirits around the world, each barrel is closely inspected prior to distribution to ensure high-quality standards are met.