As appetite for lumber, paper, packaging, wood pellets and other forest products has grown, so have the nation’s forests, according to a new report. Forest2Market’s ‘Historical Perspective on the Relationship between Demand and Forest Productivity in the US South’ analyzed forest service data and other research to understand how changes in demand and supply have interacted over a period of nearly sixty years.
– Annual timber removals nearly doubled between 1953 and 1996 due to appetites for furniture, paper and packaging
– Forest product companies improved forest management practices and increased their productivity in turn
– Increased demand has not depleted forests, remaining stable while total inventory has doubled
– Increased demand is also associated with more acres, better growth and larger inventories
– Urbanization is a bigger threat to forests in the United States than demand for forest products
“Unfortunately, much of the discourse about the forest products industry’s impact on forests and carbon has focused on only one side of the story: harvesting trees,” says the report’s lead analyst and author, Hannah Jefferies. “This ignores one of the most basic tenets of forestry: grow trees.”
“At its core, this report shows that southern landowners do more than just harvest trees. Because those trees have value as a raw material, landowners regrow their trees and take steps to maximize the productivity of their timberlands,” Jefferies added.