Sustainable Forestry — A Global View
More than 30 percent of the earth's land surface — almost 10 billion acres — is covered by forests*. Almost two-thirds are considered working forests, the productive forestlands that are actively managed to generate multiple resources, including wood fiber, recreation, wildlife, aesthetics, clean water and other forest ecosystem values. When managed responsibly, working forests can produce a continuous and sustainable supply of these important resources. Each year, less than 1% of the wood from these forests is harvested. The remaining one-third of forested area is considered primary forest, which means human activities in these forests have been limited or are entirely absent.
Globally, many forests have been converted to non-forest uses, such as agricultural production and urban development, to meet increasing demands of growing populations. Although deforestation has slowed and even reversed in many economically developed countries, forest conversion for food production, fuel, and development pressures continues to drive deforestation in some developing countries.
“A significant challenge for the forestry profession is to communicate and demonstrate the simple idea that one of the best ways of saving a forest is to use it.”Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations State of the World Forests Report 2012
International Paper's Role
Trees are International Paper’s primary raw material. Our global demand for fiber is an important economic driver for the existence of tens of millions of acres of forested land. In 2013, we purchased 71 million tons of wood fiber and pulp in the United States, Brazil, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, China and India. Brazil and Russia are the only countries where we source wood fiber directly from lands owned or leased to International Paper. In the United States, we buy wood fiber primarily from private landowners. When consumers use wood-based products, they provide a direct financial incentive for landowners to keep working forests working.
International Paper is committed to making quality products and ensuring responsible stewardship of the forests that supply our wood. We have a Responsible Fiber Procurement Policy that states we will not knowingly accept fiber from illegally logged forests, from forests where high conservation values are threatened by management activities or from endangered forests.
International Paper is a strong proponent of domestic and international efforts to combat illegal logging and trade. As the largest procurer of fiber in the world, we are focused on preventing illegally harvested wood products from entering U.S. and global marketplaces. We support the U.S. Lacey Act, and the EU Timber Regulation, important laws that help combat illegal logging and prohibit trafficking of illegally harvested products while protecting the competitiveness of legally harvested trees. International Paper has worked to oppose changes that would weaken the U.S. law.
Working Forest Process
Growing forests is a long-term effort, with cycles varying depending on species and climate. Elements of a forest life cycle include managing forests for multiple values, harvesting according to forest type, and replanting or allowing the forest to naturally regenerate.