How many trees?

BOBNDWOODS bobndwoods at aol.com
Fri Feb 23 06:07:37 EST 1996


On Wed. Feb. 21, 1996, dbraun at u.washington.edu responded to two postings
(embedded in his posting).

Beginning with the seemingly innocuous question:

>>>...How many trees would have to be destroyed to produce 563,000 sheets
of copy >>>paper?....

Trees are not "destroyed" to make paper.  They are processed into paper. 
The problem we are faced with is not that we are wasting trees by turning
them into paper, but that we are wasting paper.  In a straight foreward
answer to the original writer's question, it takes approximately 6.3 cords
of pulpwood to make 563,000 sheets of copy paper.  In the Southeast it
takes about 4 trees to make a cord.  So, figure about 25 trees for your
boss.  Many pundits will no doubt argue against these numbers, they are
just ballpark figures.  It depends on the size of the trees and many other
factors as well.

>>I think the answer may shock you. Actually, the answer is probably
NONE!....

I don't know about "NONE"; it is true industry is utilizing lumber
residues more efficiently.  However, we are still harvesting a lot of
pulpwood from intermediate cuttings and short rotation plantings.

>>...But it isn't so much a thing to SAVE trees but to save landfills.....

Hit the nail on the head.  Loss of biodiversity, wildlife habitat, primary
forests, watersheds, etcetera, etcetera... is not as much a factor of how
we use our forests as how we use our land.  Logging in the development of
this country was as much a tool to clear land for other uses as for timber
production.  It is often the same today.  Recycling is more vital for
decreasing the waste stream than reducing tree cutting.  We are using up
land for places to put people and the bi-products of people.  So tell your
boss to not muddy the waters, we may have to drink them soon.

>...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....

Could be.  Or, could it be that chip prices are up because of an increased
demand for paper products?  Just 15 years ago a landowner selling timber
in the Southeast could not give away his hardwood pulpwood (trees too
small or poor for lumber production).  They were considered weeds to be
eliminated from prime fibre producing lands.  Now it is as valuable as the
softwood species.  Everyone has a personal computer now.  Most computers
have a printer attatched.  Printers use paper that requires a high
percentage of hardwood fibre.  Save a tree....don't make a hard copy of
this!  Much of the forest industry in the Southeast used to throw vast
quantities of money into reducing hardwood "competition" in pine
plantations (hence the "monoculture - this is not a forest" argument). 
Not so anymore.  Now these hardwoods are allowed to grow with pines in
mixed stands.  The increase in value of one product has resulted in more
diverse forests.  Imagine that. 

>...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.....

Thats nice.  If we wait for the three R's to have an impact on harvest
pressures it will be too late.  I agree that primary and old growth forest
types have great value beyond wood production; that they are at great
risk; and that they should be protected.   If we want to retain more
primary and old growth forests, we have to establish a tangible economic
value for their alternative uses.  For private lands it must put money in
the landowners pockets.  Recreational uses, fishing, hunting permits or
leases have a marketable value.  What about leasing unique ecosystems to
research institutions?  Get the grant writers off their duffs.  If a
community wants a private landowner's pretty green hillside as a backdrop,
maybe they should pay him a scenery stipend.  At



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