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"Wood" You Believe?
“The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” cries Chicken Little in the ever-popular folk tale where an acorn hits Chicken Little on the head. She instills her fear in the minds of her friends as they race to tell the king. Most versions of this tale end with the worried fowl running straight into Foxy Loxy’s den, never to emerge.
How often have you heard "reducing paper and lumber use will save forests”? Obviously, if we use less paper and lumber, fewer trees will fall. But, despite what the flock may think, that is not the best plan! Nor is it the approach sustainable forestry managers use.
Indeed, Greenpeace co-founder and forest ecologist, Patrick Moore, Ph.D. says, “The claim that using wood somehow leads to forest loss is backwards and silly. Every time we use wood—every time we buy a 2x4 at a lumberyard or a ream of paper at an office supply store—we are in fact ordering up new trees for planting in forests. It is precisely because we use so much wood that we have so much forest.”
U.S. Forest Service researcher, Peter J. Ince agrees, “In general, the data shows that global regions with the highest levels of industrial timber harvest and forest product output are also regions with the lowest rates of deforestation.”
70% of US forests are privately owned, and 90% of the wood harvested in the US is from these private forests. It’s in the planet’s best interest to keep that land as forests for all the environmental benefits they provide, but if America’s private landowners can’t make money as tree farmers, many will sell the land for development or remove the trees and use their land for pasture or crops.
Trees draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow, but forests left to decay release carbon back into the atmosphere. And, if a tree is turned into lumber, that carbon remains locked in the wood!
So, you can feel good printing this page if you want to show it to someone who may not know that it’s actually advantageous to use paper and lumber. Of course, you should recycle it afterwards because it's always best to give lumber and paper the longest life cycle possible.
Down to Earth
Go Paper. Grow Trees
Patrick Moore, Ph.D. forest ecologist and Greenpeace co-founder, from an Evergreen at the Boise Basin Experimental Forest near Idaho City, Idaho, September 2002
Print Grows Trees
U.S Forest Service