MEMPHIS, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Verso Paper Corp. (NYSE: VRS) today announced that it will provide a $100,000 grant over two years to the Trust to Conserve Northeast Forestlands (TCNF) to expand participation in that organization’s Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) group forest certification program. The program seeks to identify small, family forestland owners and to certify their lands to the FSC forest management standard. The Verso grant will provide resources to expand the program throughout the six states currently covered under the group (Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York and Vermont) with a goal of 100,000 additional acres certified after the first 12 months.
“Certification is the most effective tool available for assuring that our forests remain healthy and productive for generations to come,” said Verso Vice President for Sustainability Craig Liska. “Group certification programs like the one administered by TCNF not only promote responsible forestry practices, but also help make the certification process more accessible and affordable to landowners,” he said.
“Opportunities to meet directly with landowners, educate them about certification and walk them through enrollment in the group process are critical to our ability to increase the number of FSC-certified acres here in the Northeast,” said John Gunn, director of forest stewardship at the TCNF. “By enabling us to increase the Trust’s capacity, the Verso grant will allow us to significantly increase those opportunities.”
Under the terms of the Verso grant, the Trust’s FSC group certification program will also include well-managed forests larger than typical family forest parcels. “The program has traditionally enrolled family forestlands ranging up to about 2,500 acres,” said Verso Fiber Supply Manager Jim Contino. “In addition to those smaller forests, we’re encouraging the TCNF to certify larger parcels under the group umbrella.” Verso has committed to enroll its 22,000-acre, company-managed timber deed near Nicatous Lake, Maine in the program. Verso Paper is certified for Forest Stewardship Council Chain of Custody, Certificate Registration Code: SW-COC-002775.
“We’ll be working closely with the wood procurement professionals at Verso and other paper and forest products companies to help identify landowners who might want to enroll in the FSC group certification program,” Gunn added. “Of course, interested landowners can contact the Trust directly by calling 207-688-8195.”
About Verso Paper
Based in Memphis, Tennessee, Verso Paper is a leading North American producer of coated papers, including coated groundwood and coated freesheet, and supercalendered products. Verso’s paper products are used primarily in media and marketing applications, including magazines, catalogs and commercial printing applications such as high-end advertising brochures, annual reports and direct-mail advertising. Additional information about Verso is available on our Web site at www.versopaper.com.
The Trust to Conserve Northeast Forestlands (TCNF) is a 501(c)3 non-profit based in New Gloucester, Maine. TCNF was formed by the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine in 2003 to administer the Northeast Master Logger Certification Program with a broader goal of “Enhancing the Health of Maine’s Working Forests.” Additional information on the Northeast Master Logger Certification Program and the FSC Group Certification Program is available through www.masterloggercertification.com, or by contacting Kate Albert, Director of Harvest Certification (firstname.lastname@example.org).