Environment

IKEA buys land damaged by hurricane in Florida to plant forests

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Trees felled by Hurricane Michael line a road in Florida, October 14, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

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STOCKHOLM, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Ingka Group, the owner of most IKEA furniture stores worldwide, has bought more land in the United States as part of a long-term commitment to responsible forest management, it said on Thursday.

Ingka Group will plant seedlings of mainly longleaf pine on the 1,321 hectares (3,264 acres) of land in Florida.

"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," it said.

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Ingka Group has been investing in recent years in forest land and with the new addition, it owns around 250,000 hectares in the United States, New Zealand and Europe.

"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.

The world's biggest furniture brand operates through a franchise system with Ingka Group the main retailer. IKEA aims to be climate positive - reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than is emitted by the entire IKEA value chain, from raw material production to customers' furniture disposal - by 2030.

IKEA currently does not include initiatives to reduce already emitted CO2 in the target due to difficulties measuring accurately such initiatives, and it does not use wood from its own forests in production.

Longleaf pine, Ingka Group said, is relatively resilient to the effects of climate change including resistance to forest fires, and supports habitat for endangered plants and animals such as gopher tortoises, dusky gopher frogs, pine snakes and red-cockaded woodpeckers.

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Reporting by Anna Ringstrom Editing by Mark Potter

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