A growing global population, rising incomes and changing diets will continue to increase demand and create more pressure on forests. All these carry social and environmental costs, which have side effects not just on biodiversity but people's health. For example, increased fertilizer use will create environmental problems, particularly in freshwater and coastal habitats. The lifestyle changes and reduction in consumption that could help avoid these side effects will need rapid promotion.
The SolutionOpportunities to encourage new consumption patterns that meet human needs while using fewer resources impacting forests include: technical innovations that allow products to have more amenity with less inputs of energy, water and materials; reducing or utilizing manufacturing waste; increased recycling; smart packaging that reduces food waste and transport costs; healthier, lower footprint dietary patterns; and deterring excessive consumption be the wealthy while directing more production to meeting the needs of the poor.
WWF advocates for reduced per-unit ecological footprint of forest products and where forest products are used as an energy feedstock, they increasingly substitute for non-renewables with a higher footprint. Additionally, wasteful consumption of forest products must be reduced in OECD countries.
RecyclingIncreasing the proportion of recycled material in wood products can reduce demand for virgin wood fibre and increase the net value of wood.
Use of material other than virgin wood fibre for the production of sawn wood, panels and paper increased from 21 per cent of total fibre use in 1990 to 37 per cent in 2010 and is projected to reach almost 45 per cent in 203027. Recovered paper is the largest source, then non-wood fibre, but collection of waste wood products (demolition waste, used furniture, etc.) is increasing rapidly, as is use of recycled wood in board production.
WWF Forests for Life programme Footprint Goals
The capacity of forests and plantations to produce useful biological materials (e.g. timber, biomass, wild-foods) and absorb atmospheric carbon is maintained and enhanced.
Facts & figures
- A 10% reduction in paper and paperboard consumption in North America and Europe would match one year’s consumption in Africa and South America combined
- Around 40% of the annual industrial wood harvest is processed to make paper and paperboard. The volume of wood used in this production has doubled since the 1960s
- Use of material other than virgin wood fibre for the production of sawn wood, panels and paper increased from 21 per cent of total fibre use in 1990 to 37 per cent in 2010 and is projected to reach almost 45 per cent in 2030