Did you know there are 12 million more acres of forests in the U.S. today than in 1987? One big reason our forests are gaining ground is that more of them are being carefully managed to one or more certification programs. Developed by professional foresters, conservationists and scientists, the leading certification programs in use today include a comprehensive system of principles, objectives and performance measures which maintain the delicate balance between what our forests and wildlife need to thrive, and the needs of people for wood and paper products, recreational areas and natural beauty in our lives.
With the help of certified forestry programs, our forests can be both a "renewable" and "sustainable" natural resource. Forests are renewable because they have the ability to regrow themselves. They are also sustainable, that is, they can go on forever provided more trees are always growing than are harvested or destroyed by fires, insects, diseases and radical changes to the environment.
By maintaining strict environmental standards, and independently auditing for compliance, forest certification programs ensure that the soil, air, water, wildlife and trees receive proper care; and that harvesting and replanting are kept in balance. if all the certification standards and qualifications are met, the forest may be certified sustainable. So may the many wood and paper products that come from that forest's timber -- everything from office paper to paperboard packaging to furniture and wood flooring. Every time you choose certified products, you help our forests.
In the coming months, keep an eye out for a growing number of wood and paper products, as well as packaging, labeled from certified sustainable forests. Choosing certified products is a great way to Plant It ForwardSM so our forests remain abundant for the future.
Here are some of the most common labels to look for: