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Print Grows Trees

In recent years, printed paper has become the target of some pretty harsh criticisms by the public. E-mail signature lines urge us to “think before we print this e-mail” and companies are transitioning previously printed collateral to electronic, if not for ease of access and distribution, for environmental reasons. We are all made to believe that the more paper we use, the more trees have to die.

Want to know something? It’s not true. Just like when Great-Aunt Sylvia sends you one of those e-mail forwards telling you that that your microwave is giving you fibromyalgia, it’s time to dig a little deeper for the facts!

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) defines deforestation as “a non-temporary change of land use from forest to other land use or to the depletion of forest crown cover to less than 10 percent. Clear cuts (even with stump removal), if shortly followed by reforestation for forestry purposed, are not considered deforestation.”

In other words, cutting down trees is not what causes deforestation. What matters is whether forests are permanently removed, or whether they are reforested with new trees. And when we depress the market by lowering the demand for paper products, we are encouraging landowners to “cut and run.” They harvest what they have and then sell off the land instead of growing more trees. In this case, it usually gets converted for development or agriculture. And as pretty as a pasture of grazing cows is, it’s not contributing nearly as much to our ecosystem as a forest that contributed wildlife, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration.

The ideal scenario would be if the demand for trees was so high and profitable that landowners could manage existing land and convert new land into forests.

For more information about how printing helps the environment, check out Print Grows Trees.




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This entry was posted on Friday, March 8th, 2013 at 4:27 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.