We use wood and paper a lot in modern life. Paper and card probably make themselves useful to you pretty much every day in one way or another, and as for wood, well houses, furniture, fences, ornaments and all sorts of other things are a regular part of our lives. Wood in one sense is a great material because it’s biodegradable, renewable and very versatile. However, just because it is renewable doesn’t mean that it can’t cause a lot of environmental damage if we don’t use it carefully.
Cares only for profit, irresponsibly cutting down trees with little care for the damage being done to other plants and forest ecology!
Often the trees that are taken are slow-growing, hardwood trees that take a long time to reach useable size, not replacing what they cut down by planting anything new. Gradually the logging is a drain on the local environment, stealing the wildlife’s habitat, leaving the forest floor barren.
Unfortunately this is also the story of what happens in the world’s rainforests. 80,000 acres of the world’s forests are destroyed every day, with logging being a strong cause. Often, unscrupulous loggers simply cut everything down so that they can get to the timber that they want, which is incredibly destructive.
Once the trees and plants have been cut down, it’s hard for the forest to recover because there are no longer any living roots around to hold the fertile soil in place, so it gets washed away in the rain, leaving a barren wasteland where once there was a paradise.
As you probably know, our forests are every important because of the thousands of species they support, the oxygen they produce, the possibility for new medicines to be found in some of them, and the unique cultures of people that dwell in some of them. Without any forests, the world would suffer.
Carefully and responsibly managed, ensuring the best biodiversity and stability possible for the forest to be maintained healthily into the future.
Trees are taken carefully and are replaced. Lots of thought is put into how to make sure diversity is maintained, and waste is kept to a minimum. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certifies projects and companies that are doing this according to proper standards so if you buy products like paper and toilet roll which has the FSC certification mark on them, you’re supporting good forestry. Supporting good forestry means that there will be less CO2 in the atmosphere because there will be more trees to absorb it, better plant and animal diversity in the forests, and a sustainable resource for the future.
What else can you do?
As well as choosing goods made from FSC certified wood and products containing FSC pulp, you should buy recycled products wherever possible – this is even better, because the amount of waste and energy spent turning old paper into new paper is much less than the amount it takes to cut down trees, transport, process and treat the wood to make new paper. In order to support the recycling industry, you should always recycle your own leftover paper and wood products as well.
You can also reduce the amount you use, by reusing scrap paper and card – save wrapping paper and use it again to wrap smaller presents, keep a pile of scrap paper for random notes, and old or broken wood products can be cut up and sold or donated to reconditioning companies, or used for firewood or DIY supplies.
Supporting good forestry and reducing the need for huge amounts of wood being processed is fairly easy to do, and makes a big difference. There will be less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, lots of species of animals will continue to have places to live and thrive, tribes in the world’s rainforests will continue to be able to live the unique lives they do, and valuable plants will still be around to be discovered. The world will be a better place, thanks in part to your everyday choices.