Are we running out of trees in the U.S.?
No; in fact, there are more trees in the U.S. today than there were 70 years ago.
How many trees are planted each year in the U.S.?
Over 2.5 billion trees are planted in the U.S. each year. The forest community plants over 1.5 billion of these trees; that's an average of 4 million new trees planted every day by the forest community. Millions more trees regrow from seeds and sprout naturally.
Are we cutting down more trees in the U.S. than we're planting?
No. In fact, forest growth has exceeded harvests since the 1940s.
What percentage of the world's wood is used each year to make paper?
Only about 17% of the 3.3 billion cubic meters of wood consumed worldwide each year is for papermaking, and much of this wood is in the form of wood chips and other residue left behind from sawmill operations. Over half of the wood harvested in the world is used for fuel, mostly for cooking and domestic heating.
Does cutting down trees for papermaking lead to deforestation?
No. Deforestation is the permanent clearing of trees for purposes such as creating farmland and pasture land, for commercial and residential development, or for any other use for which trees are cut and not allowed to grow back. Paper companies and others in the forest products industry are actively reforesting. They not only allow trees to grow back, they actually encourage new growth by replanting and caring for new trees, and by creating forest land in areas where it previously did not exist. Unfortunately, deforestation is occurring in many parts of the world, especially in the tropics. This deforestation is mainly due to population pressure. In most of these cases, forests are cut down and burned for domestic fuel (heating homes and cooking) or to clear land for farming.
How much of a harvested tree is actually used? Is any part wasted?
The forest products industry has found uses for almost every part of a tree, so virtually all of the tree is used. For instance, lumber and building products can be made from the trunk, primarily from large trees whose diameters are greater than 8". The remaining wood is recovered in the form of trimmings and wood chips, and is used to make paper. The natural chemicals within the wood chips are recovered and made into useful products such as turpentine, plastics, food flavorings, and photographic film. The bark of the tree is ground or chipped to make garden mulch, or it can be burned in a furnace to generate energy to run a paper mill. Leaves, needles, and small branches are generally left in the forest to replenish the soil by adding valuable organic matter. This also helps to hold water and prevent excessive run-off on the forest floor.
Will recycling paper help save the tropical rain forests?
The trees that grow in the tropical rain forests are rarely harvested to make paper. The deforestation occurring in the tropical rain forests is mainly due to population pressure. In the world's under-developed nations, more than 90 percent of the deforestation occurs because of the demand for increased agricultural land and/or firewood.