Pirelli North America employees and Berry College students planted more than 1,000 Longleaf pines on the world’s largest campus Saturday. 

Bright shoots of green seedlings dotted the land after the group of about 50 students and Pirelli employees, spouses and children enthusiastically did their part for sustainability. 

Pirelli North America, as part of its sustainability efforts and activities to support local communities, is partnering with Berry and The Nature Conservancy in Georgia to support the Berry Longleaf pine project. The goal is to restore a rare and essential longleaf pine habitat, just north of Rome, Ga., a few miles away from Pirelli’s U.S. factory. The partnership will plant about 500 acres of longleaf pine per year for the next few years. 

Biology Professor Martin Cipollini, who heads the Longleaf project, noted that Longleaf forests once occupied over 92 million acres throughout the southeastern U.S., but for various reasons have been reduced to about 2% of the original range.  Mountain Longleaf Pine forests are particularly rare, originally occupying mountain slopes in NW Georgia and NE Alabama.  For over 20 years, the Berry Longleaf Pine Project has focused on restoring about 300 acres of old growth Mountain Longleaf Pine habitat and has planted another 100 acres (including three seed orchards). Berry’s restoration project is one of a small handful of similar efforts in the Mountain Longleaf pine region. 

The Pirelli factory produced one of the world’s first Forest Stewardship Council certified tire. The certification confirms that the natural rubber and rayon plantations are managed in a way that preserves biological diversity and brings benefits to the lives of the people of the local communities and workers, ensuring at the same time economic sustainability. 

Claudio Zanardo, Pirelli North America CEO stated: “In a special year for Pirelli, when we are going to celebrate our 150th anniversary, we are even more committed to continue to invest in sustainable growth for our planet, conscious that this is also essential for the future of our businesses.”