Some historians, such as Tycho de Boer, have criticized the paper and pulp companies of southeastern North Carolina for threatening the local environment. Environmentalists have been especially concerned with the effect of the paper and pulp industry on the area known as the Green Swamp, located east of Columbus in Brunswick County. However, some paper and pulp companies have been actively involved in preserving the environment that they have used for profit.
In 1992, the Federal Paper Board Company (FPBC) of Riegelwood, North Carolina donated three oak trees to each school campus in Columbus County in an effort to “do more for our community.” Operating as an “economic force in Columbus County since 1951,” FPBC “contributed over 254.5 million to the local economy” alone in 1991 while maintaining a belief “in the reforestation of our land.” The producer of pulp and paperboard products hoped that teachers might use the tree donations “to focus on the importance of ecology and recycling.”
The tree donations were not the first move by the FPBC to contribute to the community. In 1977, the FPBC donated 13,850 acres within the Green Swamp to the Nature Conservancy. (The Nature Conservancy is a organization with over a million members who, according to the organization’s website, work “around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people”). In the late 1980s, FPBC donated another 2,577 acres to the preserve. Environmental historian Tycho de Boer noted that there might be little Green Swamp to preserve had it not been for the large land donations by the FPBC.
Tycho de Boer, Nature, Business and Community in North Carolina’s Green Swamp (Gainesville, 2008) and Nature Conservancy, “About Us” http://www.nature.org/aboutus/?src=t5, (accessed: November 10, 2008) .