Sustainable on Every Level
GLENS FALLS, NY—Being environmentally responsible is nothing new to Finch Paper. The integrated mill has relied on the natural resources of the Hudson River and forests in upstate New York for 145 years. Much of the wood that Finch uses for its uncoated papers comes from the forests that it manages for the Nature Conservancy—producing 75 percent of its own pulp.
In August, several industry media and analysts received a first-hand look at the company's paper-making facility, which includes a woodyard, pulp mill and four paper machines. The Finch executive team discussed a few additions that will be implemented, including a new pulp mill this year and, in 2011, a new woodyard.
The second part of the tour included a visit to the forest, which provided the setting for a typical Shelterwood system in action. It's an even-aged technique where the largest and healthiest trees in a forest stand are the last to be harvested, providing seeds and shelter for the next generation of forest. Finch forester Leonard Cronin gave a comprehensive overview of the process that occurs prior to the start of a timber harvest. Finch foresters will typically walk for miles, marking the trees to be removed by loggers.
Roger Dziengeleski, Finch Paper's vice president and senior forester, also discussed the importance of clearcutting in forests. "Clearcuts have developed a bad name because they are not aesthetically appealing but, when used on a limited basis in a patch arrangement, they can be both very effective and consistent with what Mother Nature does in the Adirondack mountains," he explains. "Clearcuts are very important to ensuring long-term forest health in specific circumstances since we lose around 6,000 acres of forests a year to development. So, it's not just about saving trees, it's about saving forests."