Sunday, September 03, 2006

What Would You Give Up to Keep What You Have?

Would you trade North America's songbirds for another 5 duplicate catalogues? How about for another dunning notice from an organization you no longer have an affinity for?

Whether you want to or not, that's what's happening according
to Dr. Peter Blancher of Bird Studies Canada who points out, in a new study, that the United States purchased $20 billion worth of Canadian forest products in 2001, most of it cut from the boreal forest. Most of this timber was pulped for paper used in junk mail, advertising inserts and catalogues. Another chunk went for newspapers -- boreal trees provide more than one third of all newsprint used in the United States.

What is not mentioned in the report is that per capita wood consumption in the U.S. has gone down for 20 years according to the U.S. Forest Service, while the total volume of wood consumed has gone up.

How's that possible? Population growth.

Between 1990 and 2000 alone, the U.S. grew by 34 million people. Those 34 million additional people consume 2.26 billion cubic feet of roundwood per year, and keeping their paper and wood needs supplied requires the sustainable management of over 75 million acres of forest -- an area about equal in size to the entire National Parks system.


Note: This post was composed of 100% post-consumer binary code, without inks on a paperless medium.

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