In the spirit of using the early days of the New Year to consider life-improving resolutions, here’s one for your consideration. If you value America’s forests, use more wood.
The United States is rich in forest resources. We have over 750 million acres of forests, and over 500 million of it is defined as timberland, or suitable for harvest and eventual conversion into all kinds of forest products. We’re all familiar with products like lumber, furniture and paper, but many may not realize how many different things we regularly use that are manufactured from trees. More than 5,000 wood and paper products make our lives better each day.
We all want to protect trees. The men, women, families and companies that own much of America’s forest land are committed to protecting these natural resources for future generations. Using products that come from trees allows forest landowners to properly thin, harvest and replant timberland in a sustainable manner.
The biggest threat to forests in the United States is converting them to alternate uses. Consumer support for the products that come from these forests provides the economic viability to maintain forests instead of converting timberland to such things as housing developments or agriculture.
The forest products industry in the United States is worth well over $200 billion. It employs over a million people in rural areas all across the United States and represents about six percent of the country’s gross domestic product, on par with the automotive and plastics sectors. These might be impressive numbers, but America’s forest landowners are most proud of the role they play in not only maintaining, but improving a natural resource we all hold dear.
Consumer support in the New Year for products that come from forests will help ensure that owners keep their land forested and sustainably managed. And, we all enjoy the benefits that come from healthy forests – clean air, clean water, wildlife habitat, recreation, wood products and jobs that contribute to a strong economy.