Verso Paper Provides Grant to Expand FSC Certification
Verso Paper, Memphis, Tenn., announced it is providing a $100,000 grant over two years to the Trust to Conserve Northeast Forestlands (TCNF) to expand participation in the organization’s Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) group certification program.
The program seeks to identify small, family forest land owners and 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 forest lands 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.