THE MYTH:

Planted Forests Are Bad For The Environment

THE FACT:

Well Managed Planted Forests Are Essential To Meet Increased Demand For Forest Goods

Lightbulb

Planted Forests Are Bad For The Environment

Forests are essential for the transition to the green economy. well managed planted forests are a vital element in the global forestry mix.

There are around 25 million hectares of planted forests worldwide, representing 0.2% of global land area.
They are usually tropical fast growing plantations of acacia and eucalyptus as well as northern conifers(4).

Planted Forests:

  • In Europe, are not replacing natural forests
  • Can be more productive and can grow faster than natural forests
  • Can be independently certified
  • Can provide new recreational facilities
  • Can prevent soil degradation and erosion
  • Provide new habitat shade and shelter for wildlife
  • Contribute to rural development

In the right place and managed sustainably, tree plantations can reduce the pressure to bring natural forest areas into production (5).

'Planted forests can be environmentally sound sources of renewable energy and industrial raw material'
WWF, Living Forest Report, 2012, Ch 4

Planted forests can be well managed. Initiatives such as the FAO Guidelines for Responsible Forest Management of Planted Forests and forest certification can help maintain ecosystems and biodiversity, protect High Conservation Values, involve multiple stakeholders and aid economic development.

Worldwide re-forestation will require expansion of a range of planted forest types.

  • The WWF Living Forests Model projects that around 250 million hectares of new planted forests for all end uses might need to be established by 2050 due to population and GDP growth
  • 11 million of those might be needed in Europe
  • The paper Industry is one user of many, including lumber and increasingly, biofuels

WWF, Living Forest Report, 2012, Ch 4

In South Africa, 600 million trees across 762,000 hectares are specifically grown for use in pulp and paper manufacture and the industry plants in excess of 260,000 trees every single day (6).


(4) Forests in a Green Economy, UNEP, 2011, Page 11
(5) WWF, Living Forest Report, 2012, Ch4, Page 22
(6) Shredding the paper myths, PAMSA, September 2013