European Forests have grown by over 30% since 1950 (1) and are increasing by 1.5 million football pitches every year - an area four times the size of London. (2)
90% of deforestation is caused by unsustainable agricultural practices.'
Underlying causes of deforestation, World Rainforest Movement; UN FAO
The paper industry is a relatively small user of wood.
Of the wood extracted from the world's forests, 53% is used for energy production, 28% is used by sawmills and only around 11% is used directly by the paper industry.'
FAO Statistics 2008
' The single biggest direct cause of tropical deforestation is conversion to crop land and pasture, mainly for subsistence.'
replantingtherainforests.org, April 2009
There have been, and continue to be in some tropical countries, issues over land rights and natural forest conversion to industrial plantations which are cause for concern to the paper industry, NGOs and consumers alike.
The Two Sides initiative supports a reduction in such activity and recognizes the need to support products which can clearly be traced to sustainable sources.
In northern Europe, where almost all ancient forests are protected, paper comes from managed semi-natural forests where the cycle of planting, growing and logging is carefully controlled. Historical concerns in northern Europe and Canada have now been largely resolved through co-operation between legislators, campaigners and forest industries to protect ancient forests..
94% of the paper we use is made in Europe.'
CEPI trade statistics 2007
One of the many unique things about paper is that its main raw material is renewable and recyclable, providing a natural habitat for wildlife. The European Environment Agency (EEA) has stated that 'Forestry practice in Europe is developing in a way that can be considered good for biodiversity.' (3)
' In Europe, forests are growing and now cover 44% of the land area. 98% of all European forests are covered by a management plan or equivalents.'
MCPFE, Europe's Forests 2007
(1) (2) Two Sides briefing document from UN FAO stats
(3) EEA, The European Environment, State and Outlook 2005, page 191 of full report