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A Planned Approach
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MeadWestvaco has decided it no longer needs much of the vast tracts of forest it holds in the southeastern United States. Among the parcels the company has decided to divest itself of 72,000 acres in South Carolina, on the east side of the Edisto River, not far from Charleston.

Given the usual history of development in United States, those 72,000 acres would likely be turned into a sprawling carpet of subdivisions, shopping strips, and highways if sold outright.

MeadWestvaco is taking a different approach with this tract of forest. It is inviting public involvement in developing a conservation-driven master plan for the property. The company expects this approach will provide a better return for its shareholders.

If handled well, the final disposition of the land could serve as a model for effective collaboration between industry, conservation groups, civic partners, and the public. If handled well, it could also enhance the standing of the forest products industry.

(For more information, visit www.eastedisto.com.)

Note: MeadWestvaco last week reported the May 7 death of 81-year-old John A. Luke, Sr., the company's former president and CEO. Under Luke's leadership, the company expanded its international presence and environmental leadership.

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