A managed, 30-year old loblolly pine forest stand of natural origin. photo courtesy of David Stephens, bugwood.org

by Andrew Bennett, Science & Technology Committee chair

A recent report — Historical Perspective on the Relationship wetween Demand and Forest Productivity in the US South — looks into the relationship between changes in demand and supply using USDA Forest Service data and other scientific sources.  Though the study is focused on the US South, the lessons learned from the research help to highlight certain facts.  Over the last half-century, the demand for forest products has increased; removals are up more than 50 percent when comparing 2015 levels with the 1950’s.  But the forest and its helpers (e.g. foresters) were more than able to meet the demand as annual timberland growth in the south is up by 112 percent in that same time frame.

The author states it well when she writes“…much of the discourse about the forest products industry’s impact on forests and carbor has focused only on one side of the story: harvesting trees.  This ignores one of the most basic tenets of forestry: grow trees.”  In her report, she also concludes that the greater threat to forests is urbanization, rather than the forest products industry.

To read the report, click here.