Even with more recycling and better consumption patterns, more wood might need to be harvested to meet the need of a growing population. There are many sustainable options for increasing wood production. To supply more wood, natural forests can either be logged more heavily or logged lightly over a larger area. Depending on the scenario, WWF projects that between 242 million and 304 million additional hectares of natural forest outside protected areas may need to be managed for commercial harvesting by 2050.
Responsible forest management and relevant signals from buyers and investors can help protect vulnerable forests from illegal logging, encroachment or conversion to farmland.
WWF´s global work on forests aims to motivate continual improvement in the forest products sector – through various projects designed to motivate transparency, bringing together leaders, promoting best practice and providing support tools to improving practices.
Illegal and unsustainable trade in timber and wood products is a key driver of deforestation and forest degradation, and costs the global economy billions of dollars every year. Responsible forest management can help address some of the most severe problems affecting forests on this Earth, such as deforestation and forest degradation.
So what is WWF doing about the problem?
Supply chain transparency is a key prerequisite for continual improvement in the forest product sector. WWF motivates and promotes best practices through the following initiatives:
Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN)
By linking together suppliers, producers and purchasers from across the forest industry supply chain, GFTN works to eliminate illegal logging by driving improvements in forest management and trade practices. WWF, through GFTN, provides step by step support in overcoming responsible forest management and responsible fibre purchasing challenges while progressing towards credible certification.
Promote continual improvement and transparency in the pulp and paper industry
WWF also engages governments & trade processes to develop and implement viable forest laws and legal enforcement. For example, through the Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) process, and the EU Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT), we aim to convince governments to take actions to curb illegal logging and trade. We are also working closely with indigenous and local communities, like the Miskitos in Nicaragua, rubber tappers of Acre in Brazil, and Village Forestry Associations in Laos.
Pulp & Paper
Paper products are crucial to society, as they have enabled literacy and cultural development.
However, without minimizing forest and manufacturing impacts of pulp and paper production and without reducing wasteful consumption practices, our growing demand for paper puts increasing pressure on natural forests and endangered wildlife.
WWF engages with stakeholders in the pulp and paper sector to motivate and promote sustainable forestry, clean pulp and paper manufacturing, and responsible paper consumption.
Through the biannual WWF Environmental Paper Index WWF encourages transparency and credits improved practices in the pulp and paper sector.
Through Check your Paper WWF creates awareness and reduces complexity in assessing the forest, water and climate performance of pulp and paper products and assists buyers to make responsible choices.
*WWF Living Forests Report
- Today’s global average for recycled fibre in tissue products is 50 per cent
- The area of tropical natural forest currently used for wood production that is covered by management plans increased by about 35 million hectares between 2005 and 2010, to an estimated 131 million hectares
- Technological advances are enabling many innovative uses of wood: composites for construction, bio-foam for car interiors, bio-plastic coating for food packaging, bio-based polymer paints in consumer electronics, and pharmaceutical uses such as pills bound with wood pulp derivatives for slow release in the body
- Wood-frame houses create space in the walls for easy insulation, while innovative engineered wood beams can bear the loads needed to structure a multi-storey building with less mass than steel and concrete alternatives.
The New Generation Plantations platform
NGP provides a platform to share ideas and learn about better plantation forestry practices through real-world examples. Participants commit to abide by the NGP principles and influence others through their sustainability choices.
Why is WWF working with tree plantations?First – Unsustainable plantation management that negatively impacts the environment and impinges on the rights of local communities still exists. In many places, plantations have replaced natural forests and other important ecosystems, and the rights and interests of local communities are not always respected. WWF wants to change this.
Second – Well-managed plantations in the right places can help lessen the pressure to harvest the world’s remaining natural forests by providing timber, paper and fuelwood.
In the last 50 years, the world's demand for natural resources has doubled. If we carry on with “business as usual”, by 2030, we’ll need the equivalent of two planets to meet this demand.
As the world’s population grows, our forests will have to produce more fibre for timber, paper and fuel, unless consumption patterns change dramatically. Overall wood use may triple in the next three decades. At the same time, increasing competition for land for food, bioenergy crops and livestock is putting our natural forests under increasing pressure.
Well-managed plantations can be a part of the solution.Plantations produce more wood on less land than natural forests. Currently, plantation forestry accounts for 7% of total forest cover, but provides about 60% of wood used by the forest industry (FAO).
To help saving our remaining natural forests, WWF wants to see:
- Forestry and processing practices that produce more with less
- Less and wiser consumption by the rich (WWF’s Living Forests Report 2011).
To meet expected future demand for wood without logging natural forests, we’d need to nearly double the tree plantation area by 2050. This would mean 250 million hectares of new tree plantations.
Through NGP, WWF is working to make sure these plantations work in harmony with people and nature.