North America Grows Many More Trees than it Harvests

North America Grows Many More Trees than it Harvests

According to a report this week by Two Sides North America, Chicago, Ill., USA, paper manufacturers encourage forest sustainability through their purchase and use of certified wood fiber and by promoting sustainable forest management policies and practices at home and around the globe. By providing a dependable market for responsibly grown fiber, the paper industry encourages landowners to manage their forestland instead of selling it for development or other non-forest uses.

  • Net forest area in the U.S. has been stable since the early 1900’s and has increased from 754 to 766 million acres between 2005 and 2015. Net volume of growing stock increased by over 10% between 2005 and 2015.4 Canada’s forest area of 857 million acres has been quite stable over the past 25 years.
  • Each year forests in the U.S. and Canada grow significantly more wood than is harvested. In the U.S., average net annual increase in growing-stock trees nationwide is about 26 billion ft³.6 In 2015, Canada harvested just over 5.6 billion ft3 of timber, well below the estimated sustainable wood supply level of 7.98 billion ft³.
  • Claims like "go paperless – save trees" create a false impression that forests are a finite resource, being destroyed. In truth, North American forests are a renewable resource that is continuously replenished using sustainable forest management.
  • More than half the forest land in the U.S. is owned and managed by about 11 million private forest owners. Private forest lands provided over 90% of the domestically produced wood and paper products in 2017.
  • The income landowners receive for trees grown on their land encourages them to maintain, sustainably manage and renew this valuable resource.
  • On privately owned timberlands, overall inventories increased 6.2% between 2008 and 2014 and forest growth exceeded harvest removals.
  • Avoiding the use of wood is not the way to protect forests for the long term. It is precisely the areas of the world that consume the least wood that continue to experience the greatest forest loss.

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