How many trees?

D. Braun dbraun at
Wed Feb 21 13:00:59 EST 1996

On Wed, 21 Feb 1996 jack.perdue at wrote:

>  > I am not sure this is the correct forum to post this question but here it 
>  > goes anyway - How many trees would have to be destroyed to produce 
>  > 563,000 sheets of copy paper?  This question was presented in our employee 
>  > newsletter by our director... who by the way does not recycle...hopefully 
>  > the answer will shock him into changing his ways.  Thanks,
> I think the answer may shock you. Actually, the answer is probably NONE!
> Much of the fiber that goes into making paper is residues from lumber     
> manufacturing. The forest products industry must be very efficient today and
> uses everything from the tree. What doesn't go into lumber is chipped and used
> to make paper. The bark is used for mulch around your house. The sawdust is
> used for animal bedding or mixed into the mulch.
> Now, that doesn't mean that recycling isn't a good idea - it is. But it isn't
> so much a thing to SAVE trees but to save landfills. The waste is going
> somewhere. Trees are our only renewal resource. Harvest then regenerate. We
> have more trees today than we did 40 years ago, because we can manage our
> forests. But landfills are a limited resource. They fill up. Put the waste
> paper back into the paper, not into the landfill.
> And if you check it out, most of the recycled paper is mixed with virgin fiber
> (non-recycled). The best  quality papers come from virgin fibers. Even the
> Sierra Club has printed its calendars on virgin fiber.
> Hope this helps.
> --Jack 

Dear Jack:

You are wrong and know better.  Yes, trees go into paper--- where do the 
logs come from to produce the "lumber residue"?  Also, primary forests 
are a major source of fiber for pulp, both in North America and the 
world.  The combination of a reduction in old-growth logging on US public 
lands, and whole-log exports from private lands has driven up chip 
prices--- as you know. Paper comes from trees.

If we want to retain more primary forests, or grow managed forests on 
longer rotations, for the benefits which flow from older forests for the 
many utilitarian, cultural, and spirtitual benefits too numerous to list here, 
we must REDUCE, REUSE, AND RECYCLE.  Primary forests would have been cut 
long ago if they were only viewed as fiber mines in the US.  Lucky for us 
and future generations, scientific studies are now so numerous which 
show the many known and potential benefits of these forests, compared to 
intensively managed tree farms, that US policy is changing.

I can't resist, here are a few things we get from INTACT primary forest:
unique recreation, the highest quality water, the best salmon habitat, 
drugs (e.g. taxol), a reserve of genetic material for silviculture, plant 
and animal species which could eventually colonize managed lands if "new 
forestry", which puts some of the structural diversity of old-growth back 
into stands, is instituted more widely; and  a place of spiritual 
recharge and even worship. (Readers--- more?).

Also, spare us from saying "we have more trees mow than we did 40 years 
ago".  Trees do not equal forests--- this myth has led us to our current 
biodiversity crisis, and a reduction in old-growth forest in the PNW to 
perhaps 10%.  We have more trees, but the vast majority on managed lands 
will never grow older than 50 years. We need to leave the rest of the 
primary forest ALONE.
Your propaganda will not lead us to a sustainable future based on a view 
of the environment that is made up of ecosystems -- but only continue our 
mistaken view that the environment is entirely made up of commodities 
that can and should be targeted for consumption, of which some can be regrown,
such as trees, and some which can not, such as primary forest. 

		Regards, Dave Braun

		"You could look it up" 

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