The Truth About Trees

America’s Forests Are Renewable, Abundant And Sustainable

America’s Forests Are renewable

  • Six trees are planted for every one harvested in the U.S.
  • Harvesting large, mature trees lets sunlight reach the forest floor to stimulate new growth.
  • Hardwood trees regenerate naturally. Most softwoods are replanted.
  • Forest products companies and private timberland owners plant 80 percent of these seedlings – almost 4.8 million trees a day, 1.7 billion trees a year. That’s 2.6 million acres – the size of Connecticut. Even more lands are regenerated naturally.

America’s Forests Are Abundant

  • The U.S. still has more than 70 percent of the forestland it had in 1600 – 745 million acres. There is enough forestland in the U.S. to cover every square inch east of the Great Plains.
  • Despite a 165 percent increase in population, the U.S. has about the same amount of forestland as it did in 1920. The decline in forestland stabilized in the 1900s with the end of widespread agricultural clearing.
  • Forest growth has exceeded harvest since the 1940s. Today, growth exceeds harvest by 47 percent.
  • 271 million acres – 36.7 percent of total forest lands – are reserved from harvest by law or are unsuitable for commercial timber production.
  • In the early 1900s, 20 to 50 million acres were lost to fires each year. Today, wildfire losses are between two and seven million acres a year, a reduction of 86 percent.
  • Each year, hardwood volume increases by 5.27 billion cubic feet, even after harvests, fire, insects, and disease.
  • If hardwood trees stopped growing and harvesting continued at the same rate, the supply would last more than 75 years!
  • Hardwoods are broad-leafed trees that lose their leaves: alder, ash, aspen, basswood, beech, birch, cherry, cottonwood, elm, hackberry, hickory, maple, oak, pecan, walnut, willow, etc.

America’s Forests Are sustainable

  • Sustainable forestry involves managing for multiple benefits – clean air, clean water, recreation, wildlife, habitat, and timber – without depleting the ability of future generations to manage the forests for their needs.
  • Besides meeting state and federal regulations, professional loggers adhere to best management practices to minimize the environmental impact of harvesting operations.
  • The volume of growing stock and sawtimber could only increase if less timber were harvested than is available. Thus, for the last 50 years, north America’s forests have been managed sustainably.
  • Foresters are trained to determine when and how trees should be harvested, ensuring healthy and productive forests. different harvesting methods are employed to reach specific goals.
  • Investments in research ensure that industry lands will be even more productive in the future. Likewise, the industry continues to improve the yields of finished products from each tree. These advances allow fewer trees to be harvested to produce the same amount of product.

Wood Is The Natural Choice

Wood products come from a resource that grows, matures and is regenerated for future generations. How do other building materials compare?

Steel

  • Embodies 26 percent more energy than wood
  • Emits 34 percent more greenhouse gases than wood
  • Releases 24 percent more pollutants into the air than wood
  • Discharges 400 percent more water pollution than wood
  • Produces eight percent more solid waste than wood
  • Uses 11 percent more resources than wood

Concrete

  • Embodies 57 percent more energy than wood
  • Emits 81 percent more greenhouse gases than wood
  • Releases 47 percent more pollutants into the air than wood
  • Discharges 350 percent more water pollution than wood
  • Produces 23 percent more solid waste than wood
  • Uses 81 percent more resources than wood
Hardwood Forest Foundation