Our Forestry Goal: More than the Sum of Its Parts

Aug 07, 2014
  By Jake Handelsman, Senior Director,
  International Trade
and Jeff Bradley, Manager, Forestry & Wood
  Products Policy

Our nation’s 10 million forest landowners can have
  vastly different management objectives for their
  lands, but all AF&PA member companies are committed to sustainable forest management. Part of our Better Practices, Better Planet 2020 forestry goal focuses on increasing the amount of fiber produced from certified forestland or through certified fiber sourcing programs in the U.S.

Fiber procured by our members through certified fiber sourcing programs rose to 95 percent. Our member companies are conducting outreach to non-certified landowners on forest certification and working to promote sustainable forestry on those lands that are not currently certified.  

Fiber sourced by our members from certified forestlands rose to 29 percent of fiber sourced from the forest – an impressive increase, one that was no doubt helped along by the certified fiber sourcing programs they utilize.

The other part of our Better Practices forestry goal strives to decrease illegal logging worldwide. While very little illegal logging occurs in North America, this is not the case around the globe. Illegal logging is not just an environmental issue – it is also an economic issue. When illegally sourced forest-based raw materials enter global commerce, it undermines legitimate trade and creates a reputational problem for the industry.

AF&PA and our members worked together with labor, environmental organizations, and importer groups to ensure the Congressional passage of the 2008 amendments to the Lacey Act, which make it unlawful to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce any plants or products – including wood and paper – made of plants that are taken or traded in violation of the laws of a federal, state, or foreign law.

The 2008 Lacey Act Amendments brought heightened international awareness to the illegal logging issue and introduced a strong incentive throughout the global supply chain to ensure the legality of forest products.  They also led the way for similar illegal logging regulations in other major import markets, including the European Union Timber Regulation and the Australian Illegal Logging Prohibition Act.

Both components of our forestry goal contribute to the sustainability of forest resources into the future. Isn’t that awesome?