A paper mill’s closure hurts surrounding forests, too

The paper mill and the small town of Luke are situated next to each other in Western Maryland. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

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The June 2 Metro article “A paper mill goes silent” on the closing of the Verso mill in Luke, Md., was a gut-wrenching read.It described the human toll of the mill’s closure, but it missed a vital part of the story: the significant blow to the health, resiliency and productivity of working forests in the area.

For more than 130 years, the Verso mill drove demand for wood from a more than 90-mile radius of working forests in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Now, local forest landowners will face tough decisions about whether to invest in their forests without the local markets to ensure an economic return. Many forest owners may forgo forest health investments, including treatments to prevent insect infestation and disease, thinning and replanting trees after harvest.

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Source: The Washington Post

 

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