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Georgia-Pacific snuggles up to forests

Bryan Poovey, a forester for the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, points to an area where Atlantic white cedar seedlings are growing in Camden County, N.C. Wood and tissue producer Georgia-Pacific LLC said Tuesday that it would discourage landowners from clearing 90 million acres of hardwood forests and promised not to take trees from environmentally sensitive spots under a policy struck with three environmental groups. (AP File Photo/The Virginian-Pilot, Stephanie Oberlander)

Bryan Poovey, a forester for the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, points to an area where Atlantic white cedar seedlings are growing in Camden County, N.C. Wood and tissue producer Georgia-Pacific LLC said Tuesday that it would discourage landowners from clearing 90 million acres of hardwood forests and promised not to take trees from environmentally sensitive spots under a policy struck with three environmental groups. (AP File Photo/The Virginian-Pilot, Stephanie Oberlander)

By Tom Fetters

So the country’s biggest plywood maker is upping its conservation efforts. Good move, Georgia-Pacific.

The company this week announced a new policy geared toward helping to protect forests, according to The Associated Press and the company. The policy comes after seven years of discussions with three environmental groups: the Rainforest Action Network, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Dogwood Alliance.

The muddy waters of the Cape Fear River (left) and the Black River collide at the tip of Roan Island (above) in Pender County, N.C. Georgia-Pacific has a new policy that its says will help the environment. (AP File Photo/Wilmington Star-News, Jamie Moncrief)

The muddy waters of the Cape Fear River (left) and the Black River collide at the tip of Roan Island (above) in Pender County, N.C. Georgia-Pacific has a new policy that its says will help the environment. (AP File Photo/Wilmington Star-News, Jamie Moncrief)

Among the policy’s provisions, according to the company, are:

• Helping to find and map endangered forests and other areas that will be off-limits for harvesting;

• encouraging conservation of natural hardwood forests; and

• steering clear of harvesting in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska until roadless areas are permanently protected.

“We continue to believe it is possible to operate in a way that is environmentally responsible and also economically sound,” Jim Hannan, Georgia-Pacific CEO and president, is quoted by the AP as saying. “This policy also gives us the opportunity to address issues of increasing interest to our customers and to consumers.”

Georgia-Pacific’s policy is nonbinding, so the only penalty the company faces is possible embarrassment if it falls short of its goals.

Still, the policy shows the company is thinking green, and these days that can be good for business.

Tom Fetters is a copy editor at The Daily Reporter. This blog was written on recycled paper.

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