by Karen Chavez – Asheville Citizen Times
GREENVILLE – As world leaders meet in Paris this week to hash out a plan to halt climate change, one emerging goal has been forest conservation, with the realization that forests – vast swaths of trees that suck up carbon dioxide – are essential in the fight against global warming.
In a nod to these dealings in Paris, along with an effort to show its industry is operating under sustainable forestry practices – despite claims from environmental groups in the Carolinas – Enviva Holdings, LP, the world’s largest producer of wood pellets, announced this week that it is establishing the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund.
The $5 million, 10-year conservation program, to be based in Greenville, South Carolina, company officials say, is designed to protect tens of thousands of acres of bottomland forests in northeast North Carolina and southeast Virginia.
The Bethesda, Maryland-based Enviva is the world’s largest manufacturer of wood pellets, providing about 2.2 million metric tons of the pellets to coal-fired power plants Europe, enabling them to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80 percent. Nearly all of the biomass for the pellets comes from Southeastern forests.
The company owns and operates six pellet production facilities in North Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Mississippi, and a deep-water marine terminal in Chesapeake, Virginia. Enviva also exports pellets from ports in Panama City, Florida and Mobile, Alabama, and is building a second port in Wilmington, N.C. and a seventh plant in nearby Sampson County.
Read the full piece at Citizen-Times.com