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Forestry Myth  


Contrary to public opinion, Europe’s forests are increasing in size – by an area equivalent to 1.5 million football pitches every year (an area four times the size of London)1 – and responsible forest management is helping to drive this growth.

The Paper Industry depends on trees and needs thriving forests.

It is very much in the Industry’s interest that trees and forests be used sustainably and remain available as a raw material for future generations.

Since the 19th century, woodpulp from trees gradually replaced other sources of fibre used for papermaking, such as straw, grasses and rags. However, since the 1950s, UK papermakers have steadily increased their use of recovered paper so that now over 70% of the fibres used to make paper in the UK come from paper collected for recycling. The rest come mainly from virgin wood fibre from trees grown in sustainably managed and certified forests.  This makes good economic and environmental sense in the densely populated but underforested UK.  Only 12% of UK land is forested compared to 37% for Europe and 31% worldwide2.

Of the timber extracted in the UK, less than 5% is used in paper and pulp production2 (around 11% worldwide1). This timber is lower grade conifer logs and forest thinnings (immature trees extracted from the forest to enable those remaining to grow to healthy maturity).  Higher grade timber is generally used by other industries such as construction and furniture making.  Sawmill residues, such as wood chips, are also used as raw material for the Paper Industry.

1 FAO Statistics 2007
2 Forestry Statistics 2010



......© Confederation of Paper Industries, 1 Rivenhall Road, Swindon, Wiltshire SN5 7BD