A recent Two Sides North America survey showed that 48% of Americans believe paper is bad for the environment, and 60% believe U.S. forests are shrinking. That’s not true.
In honor of International Print Day (October 20, 2021), we compiled some facts that print buyers should know about the relationship between printing paper use and deforestation.
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 remained stable at 857 million acres during the same period. This finding was reported in the 2020 Global Forest Resources Assessment conducted by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Using paper for printing and packaging does not contribute to deforestation. According to the FAO report, the greatest forest loss occurs in regions of the world that use the least wood.
Demand for sustainably produced paper products provides a strong financial incentive for private forest landowners to manage their land responsibly and keep it forested rather than selling or converting it for non-forest uses.(U.S. Forest Service, 2019).
A 2019 U.S. Forest Service report noted that tree harvesting in the U.S. occurs on less than 2% of forestland each year. This is less than the nearly 3% of forest trees that are disturbed annually by natural events such as insects, disease and fire.
About 89% of wood harvested in the U.S. comes from privately owned forests which provide most of the wood for domestically produced wood and paper products. (U.S. Forest Service, 2019).
U.S. and Canadian paper and paper-based packaging companies are instrumental in achieving sustainable forestry objectives. Sustainable forestry is a comprehensive, science-based approach to protecting and conserving this vital natural resource.
The U.S. Forest Service defines sustainable forestry as meeting the forest resources needs and values of the present without compromising the similar capability of future generations. Sustainable forestry is a land stewardship ethic. It integrates growing, harvesting and regenerating trees for useful products with the protection and conservation of soil, air and water quality, wildlife habitat and biodiversity. Sustainable forestry also takes into account how the forest contributes to global carbon cycles, aesthetics, and long-term social and economic benefits.
Certification organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council and Sustainable Forestry Initiative rigorously audit forestry practices. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) independently certify to paper consumers that the products they use come from responsibly managed forests.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, more than half of the world’s certified forests are in North America.
About Two Sides North America
Two Sides North America is an independent, non-profit organization that works to dispel common misperceptions about paper and printing. Through fact sheets and other educational materials, they inform businesses and consumers about the sustainability, versatility, and attractiveness of print, paper and paper-based packaging.
The Two Sides global network includes more than 600 member companies across North America, South America, Europe, Australia and South Africa. Member companies span the Graphic Communications and Paper-based Packaging value chain, including forestry, pulp, paper, paper-based packaging, and related fields.
For more facts about the sustainability of paper and paper-based packaging, visit: https:/twosidesna.org