International Paper’s Southern Presence

January 2nd, 2007 by


’s Southern Presence

IP Plateau

According to the University of
Georgia’s Center for Paper Business and Industry Studies and the 2005
Lockwood-Post Directory of Pulp & Paper Mills, in the 13 states
that make up the US Forest Service’s Southern Region, there are 96
mills producing paper packaging. As far as impact to the South, one big player rises to the top. International
Paper with a focus on consumer packaging owns 5 container board mills
and 4 additional consumer paper packaging mills across the South,
including Riegelwood Mill near Wilmington, North Carolina which
produces 876,000 tons of paperboard per year, the Augusta Mill located
in Augusta, Georgia, which creates 650,000 tons of paperboard per year,
the Texarkana Mill located in Texarkana, Texas, which produces 620,000
tons of paperboard per year and in Southeastern Virginia, the Franklin
Mill which produces 678,000 tons of office paper and 120,000 ton of
bleached board per year.

The impact of the business as usual production of paper packaging at these mills on the rich, diverse forests of the American South is serious. In the last 50 years, the acreage dedicated to pine plantations has gone from virtually zero to about 32 million acres. The
South, once a vast landscape of the most bio-diverse temperate forests
in the world, now is home to 32 million acres of sterile pine
plantations interspersed throughout this precious ecosystem. Because
millions of years ago the glaciers did not make it this far South, we
have some of the highest concentration of tree species anywhere in the
world—which attracts a high number of plant and animal species in the
native Southern forests landscape. When natural forests
are converted to monoculture pine plantations, we loose that abundance
and biodiversity that make the Southern U.S. a hotspot for species
diversity and cultural heritage.

Riegelwood Mill and the Green Swamp


Green SwampThe
Riegelwood Mill located on the Cape Fear River in Southeastern North
Carolina is a large and efficient mill broadly drawing wood fiber for
its production from a large sourcing circle that includes rare and
important ecological habitats. Surrounding the mill, leading east to
the Atlantic Coast, down into South Carolina and extending north and east is the ecological wonder the Green Swamp. The
Green Swamp, home to massive cypress and tupelo, also contains some of
the country's finest examples of longleaf pine savannas. The wetland
areas have a very diverse herb layer with many orchids and rare
insectivorous plants. There are also ecologically important dense
evergreen shrub bogs (pocosin) dominated by gallberry, titi, and
sweetbay. Click here to read more about the Green Swamp Click here.

Franklin Mill and the Great Dismal Swamp

Feeder Ditch, Great Dismal Swamp

IP’s Southeastern Virginia’s
Franklin Mill also voraciously feeds on wood fiber harvested from
important ecological habitat with a sourcing footprint that stretches
from the impressive
stands of cypress and Atlantic white-cedar
in the Great Dismal Swamp which extends from Southeastern Virginia
across into Northeastern North Carolina ranging to the hardwoods of the
ridges leading to the Appalachian Mountains. Three
plant
species in the Swamps deserve special mention including the dwarf
trillium, silky camellia, and log fern. The dwarf trillium is located
in the northwestern section of the swamp and blooms briefly each year
for a two-week period in March. Silky camellia is found on the hardwood
ridges and in the northwestern corner of the refuge. The log fern, one
of the rarest American ferns, is more common in the Great Dismal Swamp
than anywhere else.
Click here to read more about the Great Dismal Swamp. Click here.

Augusta and Texarkana Mills and Natural Pine Forests

Piney Woods forests
Near Magnolia, Arkansas, United States
Photograph by Mike Gee

IP’s large Augusta
Mill is located in Georgia’s southeastern plains near the Savannah
River and the border with South Carolina and the sourcing footprint for
the hungry mill reaches across miles and miles of nearly to Columbia,
South Carolina. This mill feeds off of a mixed
southeastern forest ecosystem which the World Wildlife Fund recognizes
as among the top 10 in the United States in number of endemic reptiles,
amphibians, butterflies, and mammals. There are more than 3,600 native
species of herbs and shrubs, the highest in North America.
The
Texarkana Mill in Eastern Texas at the corner of Texas, Arkansas and
Louisiana on the edge of the great coastal plain and sources from an
area generally know as the Piney Woods Forests which stretch across
eastern Texas, northwestern Louisiana, and southwestern Arkansas.
Despite its name, the Piney Woods forest historically is considered a
oak-hickory-pine forest. Little of the long-leaf pine forests that once
dominated this eco-region remain with industrial pine plantations now
widespread.
Click here!


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