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How Shoppers Can Preserve Forests Thriving

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Forests are very important to all life on Earth. They filter the water we drink and the air we breathe. They supply important medicines, meals, and shelter for about 750 million individuals who dwell in forests, together with 60 million Indigenous peoples. They supply habitat for practically three-quarters of the world’s life on land. And forests present the supplies for merchandise we use day-after-day—reminiscent of paper in faculties and places of work; furnishings and flooring in homes; musical devices; rayon material in garments; and even pure rubber in automobile tires.

However many individuals don’t understand the alternatives they make about which forest merchandise to purchase matter. Actually, these choices could make an actual distinction in preserving a few of the world’s most vital forests thriving—at residence and overseas—for nature, native communities, and our international local weather.

Significance of Forest Merchandise 

The forest sector contributed greater than US$1.52 trillion to the world’s nationwide economies in 2015, producing important revenues for international locations and corporations—in addition to communities. The worldwide pulp and paper trade is likely one of the largest industrial sectors on the earth. This sector accounts for 13%–15% of complete wooden consumption and makes use of between 33%–40% of all industrial wooden traded globally. Some frequent pulp and paper merchandise embody workplace and catalog paper, shiny paper, tissue, and paper-based packaging. The USA is the second-largest paper producer and shopper nation on the earth after China.

Wood stacked at a paper mill run by Yueyang Forest & Paper Co., Ltd, which is the parent company of Hunan Maoyuan Forestry Ltd, near Yueyang, Hunan, China.

© Theodore Kaye / WWF-China

Different key forest merchandise sectors embody wooden merchandise used for development lumber, furnishings, flooring, and decking; merchandise that come from bushes, like pure rubber; and different makes use of of wooden reminiscent of pellets for bioenergy.

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Sadly, some forest merchandise operations have had devastating impacts on the world’s most ecologically vital locations and species. Unlawful and unsustainable logging and conversion of forests for fast-growing timber plantations have destroyed excessive conservation worth forests across the globe, impacting water amount and high quality and inflicting important human rights violations and social conflicts. These points are notably extreme in areas with a historical past of poor forest governance, together with the Congo Basin, the Amazon, the Larger Mekong, Borneo and Sumatra, and the Russian Far East.

Deforestation and forest degradation contribute as much as 15% of carbon emissions globally, and their local weather impacts might be notably critical in areas with deep peatlands, reminiscent of Sumatra. Peat soils retailer great quantities of carbon which might be launched into the ambiance when pure forests are transformed for commodities like pulp and rubber.

Deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest surrounding the Uru-eu-wau-wau Indigenous Land, in September 2020

© Andre Dib / WWF-Brazil

Given the worldwide nature of the forest merchandise commerce, unlawful and unsustainably sourced forest merchandise from these areas can attain markets—and unsuspecting clients—all around the world. Even in international locations with comparatively higher forest legal guidelines and regulation enforcement, there are nonetheless cases of timber theft and unsustainable practices that make forests extra weak to stresses like wildfires, illness, and invasive species.

The excellent news is that when forests are managed in a socially and environmentally accountable manner, it may possibly carry many advantages to native economies whereas safeguarding biodiversity and pure sources like water; mitigating the consequences of local weather change; and selling social values. An growing variety of forest managers and forest merchandise firms acknowledge the enterprise and model worth of using accountable forestry and plantation administration practices by implementing the rigorous requirements of the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®). 

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US shoppers may also play a key position in supporting accountable forestry by selecting merchandise which might be recycled or made with virgin fiber that’s FSC licensed. (Yow will discover merchandise licensed to the FSC normal right here). 

Pile of cork stoppers from the first cork oat forest certified by FSC in Spain, harvested in the Sierra de Espadán, Castellón, in the west of the country.

© Isaac VEGA / WWF-Spain

What WWF Is Doing to Help Forests 

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) works by means of its Forests Ahead program to interact with firms and different stakeholders across the globe to ship efficient nature-based methods for forests that assist obtain their enterprise and sustainability targets. 

Forests Ahead combines the successes and learnings of WWF’s a long time of engagement with firms by means of its World Forest & Commerce Community whereas harnessing enterprise curiosity in advancing nature-based options to ship significant, long-term advantages for nature, local weather, and other people.  

These efforts display the immense want for us all to consider how our on a regular basis actions have penalties for the atmosphere and the species (together with people) that decision our planet residence. The outcomes are clear: Market demand within the US for responsibly sourced forest merchandise can affect and enhance forest administration practices all around the world. Working collectively, we will all be a part of the answer and make a optimistic influence on communities and habitats—across the nook and the globe.

What Can You Do? 

Along with shopping for FSC-certified and recycled merchandise, there are many methods shoppers can assist defend forests. This contains recycling paper and paper-based packaging, printing double-sided, searching for used furnishings, and getting concerned with organizations working to guard forests across the globe. And for those who dwell within the US, you possibly can ask your congressional representatives to help the FOREST Act by going to our web site worldwildlife.org and clicking “Take Motion” on the backside of the web page. By doing so, you possibly can assist forestall illegally deforested merchandise from getting into US markets.

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By Linda Walker, senior director of company engagement for forests at World Wildlife Fund

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