How Do We End The Myths (CONT’D FROM PAGE 36)
challenges. In addition, certification organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council and Sustainable Forestry Ini- tiative rigorously audit forestry practices on the ground to independently certify to paper consumers that the prod- ucts they use come from responsibly managed forests. More than half of the world’s certified forests are in North America (UN Food and Agriculture Organization, 2020). Here are a few key facts to help make the case that paper is not “destroying forests:” North American forests are a renewable resource and are not shrinking. U.S. forest area grew by 18 million acres between 1990 and 2020, and net forest area in Canada re- mained stable at 857 million acres during the same period (U.N Food and Agriculture Organization, 2020). Tree harvesting in the U.S. occurs on less than two per- cent of forestland each year compared to the nearly three percent disturbed annually by natural events like insects, disease and fire. (U.S. Forest Service, 2019) About 89 percent of wood harvested in the U.S. comes from privately owned forests (U.S. Forest Service, 2019) which provide most of the wood for domestically produced wood and paper products. Demand for sustainably pro- duced paper products provides a strong financial incentive for landowners to manage their land responsibly and keep it forested rather than selling or converting it for non-for- est uses, which is the leading cause of deforestation in the United States. (U.S. Forest Service, 2019).
stewardship ethic that integrates the growing, harvest- ing and regeneration of trees for useful products with the protection and conservation of soil, air and water quali- ty, wildlife habitat and biodiversity, forest contributions to global carbon cycles, aesthetics, and long-term social and economic benefits that meet the needs of society. Achiev- ing these objectives is a tall order, and U.S. and Canadi- an paper and paper-based packaging companies are in- strumental in making it happen. Yes, because it’s the right thing to do, but also because their very existence depends on a thriving and sustainable supply of trees to manufac- ture the products consumers want and need. Few enterprises on earth have the benefit of so vast or scientific an infrastructure to promote sustainability and the protection of landscapes and natural values as the North American paper industry. This infrastructure links paper companies; university forestry schools; federal, state and provincial foresters; landowners and loggers; silviculture and soil experts; wildlife biologists; conservation groups; forest certification bodies and others to lead world-class forest stewardship. Partnerships among these diverse entities drive inno- vation and real-world sustainability progress grounded in research, the continuing evolution of forestry best man- agement practices, education and training for loggers and landowners, and targeted initiatives to address emerging
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July 26, 2021
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