Some signs of progress

The US-based environmental group, Upstream, has quietly changed the numbers in its Waste of Forests campaign, correcting the error that inflated its packaging waste claim by about 30 per cent (Upstream misses the boat). We remain hopeful that the group will also change its misleading view of how recycled and virgin material are used in packaging production (Upstream misses the boat – part 2).

While we are waiting for that, there’s another claim that caught our eye: that “Paper production is currently the single largest threat to our forests.”  We asked Upstream for the missing footnote (3) that accompanies this claim some time ago, but it hasn’t provided it. Maybe we are misreading this, but we would have thought that the “single largest threat” to any forest (US or Canadian) would be the actual removal of that forest itself for another purpose (deforestation for agriculture, oil and gas projects, or urban development) rather than the process of tree harvesting (where the harvested area is naturally regenerated or replanted with new seedlings). But that’s just us. Isn’t re-forest better than no forest?



P.S. Harvested forests are regenerated by both the US and Canadian forest industries, in Canada by a combination of natural regeneration and the planting of over a thousand new seedlings per minute (More than a thousand new tree seedlings are planted every minute in Canada). The major causes of net deforestation in Canada (the removal of forest for another purpose) are agriculture (41%), oil and gas projects (24%), and urban development 10% (PPEC blog February 14).

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John Mullinder

Executive Director Paper & Paperboard Packaging Environmental Council (PPEC)
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