But 100 years ago, that was a different story. In the 19th century and up until the 1920s, much of North America’s forests were often logged for agricultural and timber purposes, and then abandoned. In fact, the most prolific period of forest clearing in U.S. history occurred between 1850 and 1920.
It wasn’t until later that the forest industry aggressively began reforestation. That is, planting new seedlings after a more mature tree was harvested. As a result, our forest population has stabilized. We'd also like to credit considerable help from Mother Nature.
We refer to our policy of harvesting trees, reseeding and caring for the forest environment as “managing forests.” We follow a strict set of guidelines and priorities that protect the soil, air, water and wildlife; and we take other steps to keep our trees healthy.
An everlasting business.
The U.S. forest inventory has increased by 39% since 1952.* Pretty impressive when you consider that our population has nearly doubled since then. Currently, forests cover 33% of U.S. land—or 747 million acres. In other words, things continue to look up.
[*U.S. Forest Service, Forest Resources of the United States, 2002 (Smith et. al)]
[**U.S. Forest Service, America's Forest 2003 Health Update]
We’re mostly in the business of supplying the growing need for paper, lumber, furniture and many other products. So making sure we always have plenty of trees is pretty important to us. That’s why the industry plants over 1.7 million trees every day.*
But we don’t just grow trees and harvest them. As foresters, we manage our forests. We subscribe to stringent standards of forestry practices that protect the trees, soil, air, water and wildlife.
The real beauty of managing forests — and our business — is that trees are a completely natural and renewable resource. So we’re able to continue this cycle for generations and generations.
[*Sustainable Forest Initiative® Program]