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National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and International Paper Mark Five-Year Anniversary, $15 Million Invested to Conserve Southern Forests

Public-Private Partnership on Pace to Restore and Protect 400,000 Acres of Wildlife Habitat and Working Forests Throughout the Southeast

/EIN News/ -- MEMPHIS, Tenn., Dec. 12, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and International Paper today marked the five-year anniversary of the launch of their Forestland Stewards partnership, which continues to conserve and restore southern forests, some of the most biodiverse and productive landscapes in the United States. NFWF and International Paper also announced a record amount of investments in its sixth year of grant-making, with more than more than $4.4 million awarded to support forestland restoration and working forests throughout the Southeast.

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The 19 grants announced this year will leverage more than $15.8 million in matching funds to generate a total conservation impact of more than $20.2 million. The projects will be implemented in four priority regions in the Southeast: the Low Country forests of North Carolina and South Carolina; the Cumberland Plateau of Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee; the Piney Woods of Texas and Louisiana; and the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley of Arkansas and Mississippi.

The 2018 grant slate is highlighted by a single project that will protect more than 13,000 acres of working forest along the Savannah River in South Carolina.

A complete list of the 2018 grants made through the Forestland Stewards partnership is available here.

Since 2013, NFWF and International Paper have invested more than $15 million in projects through the Forestland Stewards partnership, leveraging more than $36 million in matching funds from grantees for a total conservation investment of more than $51 million. Projects funded through the partnership have helped to restore, conserve and enhance many of the habitats across the Southeast, including longleaf and shortleaf pine forests, bottomland hardwood forests, and woodlands bordering streams and rivers. Projects also have contributed to the recovery of several forest-dependent species that are listed, or at risk of listing, under the Endangered Species Act, including the red-cockaded woodpecker and gopher tortoise.

Including the 2018 grants, Forestland Stewards will have established, enhanced and protected more than 400,000 acres of native forest and wildlife habitat. The program also will have engaged nearly 15,000 private landowners through outreach and technical assistance to implement forest stewardship practices.

“We value our partnership with NFWF, and we are thrilled to expand our collaboration to include the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley,” said Tom Cleves, International Paper’s vice president of global citizenship. “By working together with organizations that share our commitment to responsible forest management, we will continue to ensure healthy and productive forest ecosystems for future generations.”

“The Forestland Stewards partnership strengthens the conservation community across the South by bringing together business leaders, landowners, public agencies and conservationists to restore and protect some of the most iconic and biodiverse forests in the United States,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “This partnership benefits not just wildlife, but also private landowners, communities and industries that depend on abundant natural resources.”

NFWF and International Paper invite conservation partners to reach out to learn more about this work and to build exciting, new conservation innovations around working forests.

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation's fish, wildlife, plants, and habitats. Working with federal, corporate and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 4,500 organizations and generated a conservation impact of more than $4.8 billion. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.

About International Paper
International Paper (NYSE: IP) is a leading global producer of renewable fiber-based packaging, pulp, and paper products with manufacturing operations in North America, Latin America, Europe, North Africa, India, and Russia. We produce corrugated packaging products that protect and promote goods, and enable worldwide commerce; pulp for diapers, tissue, and other personal hygiene products that promote health and wellness and papers that facilitate education and communication. We are headquartered in Memphis, Tenn., and employ approximately 52,000 colleagues located in more than 24 countries. Net sales for 2017 were $22 billion. For more information about International Paper, our products, and global citizenship efforts, please visit internationalpaper.com. 

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Rob Blumenthal
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
(202) 857-0166
rob.blumenthal@nfwf.org

Adam Ghassemi
International Paper
(901) 419-4436
Adam.Ghassemi@ipaper.com

Elizabeth Woodworth
Wood & Company Consulting
(202) 957-7171
elizabeth@woodcoconsulting.com


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