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IP Continues Multimillion-dollar Commitment to Forest, Wetlands

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Meagan Nichols, Lead Reporter, Memphis Business Journal (Memphis, Tenn., USA) wrote this past week (Aug. 1, 2018) about how southern U.S. forests and wetland habitats are getting a multimillion-dollar conservation boost, thanks in part to one of Memphis’ largest public companies.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced July 31 that seven grants totaling $2.19 million will be used to restore and enhance the Mississippi Alluvial Valley with an additional $1.5 million produced in matching funds.

Grants were awarded via the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley Restoration Fund a partnership between the NFWF and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the U.S. Forest Service. Private contributions were provided by Memphis-based International Paper Co. (IP), leading among other primary contributors. 

"Our entire business depends upon the sustainability of forests," said Tom Cleves, IP's VP of Global Citizenship, in a company release. "Through partnerships like this, IP will continue to lead the world in responsible forest stewardships to ensure healthy and productive forest ecosystems for generations to come."

IP’s contributions were made possible via Forestland Stewards, which is the company’s public-private conservation partnership with NFWF. During its first five years, Forestland Stewards were able to leverage IP’s $7.5 million investment and generate $24.5 million in matching funds.

In 2017, IP renewed its commitment and pledged to invest an additional $10 million over the next five years. The goal of the partnership is to protect or improve 300,000 acres of forest habitat for a total conservation impact of 540,000 acres.

Thousands of acres in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas will be aided by the new grants.

"We see great opportunity to improve water quality, benefit local communities and support populations of ducks, fish and other wildlife all while keeping commerce flowing on the river," said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF.

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