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The new Two Sides study outlines some interesting points around the perception that “go paperless – save trees” is a lot less accurate than one might think.
There are many social and economic factors that need to be looked at in this discussion in order to shelve long held misconceptions around the printing industry and its part in the environment.
New study commissioned by Two Sides explains why the popular “go paperless – save trees” slogans are misleading and false.
CHICAGO (February 8, 2016) – Today, Two Sides North America released a new study outlining key facts on why paperless initiatives do not save trees. Findings point to mounting evidence that loss of markets for paper and other wood products, a large portion of which are produced from wood harvested on privately-owned land, increases the risk of forest loss. The study was conducted by Dovetail Partners, an environmental think-tank specializing in forestry research and analysis.
“This study is another example of why slogans such as ‘go paperless – save trees’ or ‘go green – go paperless’ are not only misleading, but false.
Over the past 60 years, the number of trees on managed U.S. forest lands has been increasing considerably due to responsible forestry practices.
Wood is a valuable renewable resource that we are taking care of,” explains Phil Riebel, President of Two Sides North America. Key facts from the study show that, even in a declining market for printing and writing paper:
Private forest ownership and stable paper markets create a synergy that has long yielded tens of thousands of jobs, rural income, and strong incentives for continued investment in forests for the near and long term. However, if efforts to reduce wood markets succeed over an extended period, the result would likely be loss of forest lands rather than the reverse.
Summarizing the research results, Dr. Jim Bowyer, lead author of the Dovetail study, states, “A common and simplistic, yet erroneous view, is that using less paper will lead to more trees across the landscape. Just as eating fewer apples will result in fewer rather than more apple trees, decreased consumption of wood products will not yield more trees and forests. Similarly, claims that using ‘tree-free’ paper made from other fibers (ex: recycled fiber, wheat, sugarcane) will ‘save trees’ are equally misleading. The development of markets for wood is essential to maintain forest lands as forest for the long term. Meanwhile, the time has come for serious reconsideration of the erroneous ‘save paper-save trees’ movement.”
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