Managing a healthy forest
Forests are essential to life on Earth. They provide homes for thousands of species. They produce oxygen, store carbon, and regulate global climate. And they support millions of people who depend on them for survival.
But along with clear-cutting for agriculture, demand for timber has fueled high rates of deforestation, threatening nearly half of the world’s forests. According to WWF, the planet is losing 18.7 million acres of forest each year — the equivalent of 27 soccer fields per minute. Recent fires in the Amazon rainforest and Indonesia and Africa have shown how the rate of deforestation has reached critical levels. Much of this is due to the fact that people cut the forest down to earn a living from things like soy or palm oil or beef. To counter this cycle, local communities need new ways to develop economically. By committing to purchasing FSC-certified fiber, HP is working to create incentives to keep forests intact and prevent deforestation.
Finding the balance of using and maintaining this precious resource that we can’t live without is crucial. On a recent visit to an FSC-certified forest near HP headquarters in northern California, HP’s Jackowski walked through a mix of young and old-growth redwoods. She saw streams where salmon swam, while birds chirped overhead. While this forest produces timber harvested for lumber, the visit gave a glimpse of what a sustainably managed forest can feel like.
“This is how the planet runs naturally and this is how we need to continue to protect it for future generations,” Jackowski says. “You can't eliminate certain aspects of a healthy forest and still expect it to maintain itself like it might have otherwise.”
Conventional forestry practices involve heavy harvesting and pesticide use. When chemicals are used, they can come into contact with freshwater bodies or local communities. But in an FSC-certified forest, trees are cut selectively and chemical use is highly restricted. Standards also cover the physical health, and social and economic well-being of people who work in FSC-certified forests.
“If you're walking in a conventionally managed forest, you're seeing very large openings and is a highly altered landscape,” says Corey Brinkema, president of FSC’s US national office. “Walking in an FSC-certified forest feels like you're walking in a natural forest. You tend to have the qualities that you would expect if you're walking through your state park.”
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