Meeting rising demand sustainablyExpanding production in well-managed natural forests
Our models suggest that another 242-304 million hectares of natural forest would need to be managed for commercial harvesting by 2050 – up to 25 per cent more than today. There is no simple verdict on whether it’s better to log natural forests more heavily in a smaller area or conduct a lighter form of logging over a larger area. In either case, better forest management is needed, as well as improved governance and law enforcement, with stricter trade regulations and accurate tracing of wood along supply chains.
Forest certification provides assurance that the wood in a product comes from a well-managed forest, with an audited chain of custody running from the forest floor to the customer. Perhaps 30 per cent of the world’s production forest is certified, with around 13 per cent of this under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) – which WWF considers the only credible forest certification system in use today.
Reuse and recycling
Nearly all types of solid wood can be reused. Paper, for example, can be recycled and reused many times, taking the pressure of forests. In 2010, more than half the fibre used in global paper production came from recovered paper. Even with higher global paper consumption in the future, we would need less virgin wood than we do today if we recycled more.
Today, 10 per cent of the world’s population consumes over 50 per cent of the paper. This is hardly fair – paper is an important means to share knowledge and express ideas, improve sanitation and keep food safe. Reducing wasteful consumption in developed countries, like overprinting or overpackaging, would ease the pressure on forests and land use as paper use grows in developing countries.