O'Malley Announces Plans for Dual Certification of Western Maryland Forests

‘Green’ Certification will support Forest Products Industry and Green Jobs

ANNAPOLIS, MD (October 9, 2010) — Governor Martin O’Malley today announced that the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is seeking dual certification for all three Western Maryland State Forests, a move that will protect forest industry jobs and garner national recognition of the State’s commitment to sustainable forestry management. Governor O’Malley made the announcement at Potomac-Garrett State Forest, on the donated tract of land upon which Maryland’s extensive public lands system was founded.

“Dual certification of these forests will protect important jobs in Western Maryland by providing certified “green” products to businesses like NewPage that will allow them to meet increasing customer demand,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “It will also publicly validate the great work our State Foresters are doing in managing our working lands for sustainability. Once again, by relying on sound science, Maryland is proving we can protect our environment and our economy to the benefit of our citizens and our planet.”

The Western Maryland forest products industry has a $950 million total economic impact in the region, contributes $35 million in State and local tax revenues, and employs 9,200 people. Dual certification will directly benefit these employees -- including nearly 1,000 Marylanders who work at NewPage -- by providing the forestry industry the tools it needs to compete in the global market and meet the demand for certified wood.

“NewPage applauds Maryland in its efforts to certify State forestlands in Western Maryland,” stated Fred Souba, Vice President of Wood Supply and Sustainability for NewPage Corporation. “As the largest coated paper producer in North America, NewPage is seeing an increased interest by its customers for paper products manufactured from fiber that originates from certified forests. These third-party certifications are necessary for our company to remain competitive in the marketplace, and they are also an excellent way to validate the quality forest management that is already being performed by the Maryland Forest Service on State lands.”

Forest certification is a system for identifying well-managed forestland. Conducted by an accredited third-party organization, the voluntary certification is based on internationally recognized principles and criteria with locally developed and approved standards.

“Dual certification under both the Forest Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative demonstrates that Maryland’s State Forests protect and restore sensitive natural resources while maintaining sustainable levels of forest products to local industries, thus preserving local jobs and creating rural wealth,” said Steve Koehn, Director of the Maryland Forest Service.

“The Nature Conservancy believes that forest certification is an integral part of sustainable forest management and we applaud DNR for seeking dual certification for the Western Maryland State Forests as it has done for the Eastern Shore,” said Steve Bunker, the director of conservation programs for The Nature Conservancy.

Products from certified forestland can be labeled to ensure consumers that they are buying the product of a sustainably managed forest. Nearly 67,000 acres of forest on Maryland’s Eastern Shore – Chesapeake Forest Lands -- already maintain dual certification status. In today’s marketplace there is strong, increasing demand for certified forest products.

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