There are very few in the US, Canada, and world forest products industry that truly understands what sustainable forestry means to the phenomenon known as the climate change issue or global warming. Companies like Weyerhaeuser to the office wholesalers all contribute that they do understand this relationship of harvest to the totality of carbon sequestration, but most have no more than a finite high school education on science or the intricacies of climate modeling to sustainable forestry. Forests are only sustainable and renewable up until the demand for its harvest outweighs the ability of the forests to recover its biomass and essence as a forest. We are approaching this conundrum worldwide in many forested areas of the world as this is written.
Firstly, the precept by companies like Weyerhaeuser, who recently claimed they are CO2 negative in their operations is designed only as a marketing tool to relieve and assure you, the consumer, that it is okay to buy wood products and that, you, are not contributing to the world deforestation and thus adding to the climate phenomenon, the activism that has embraced the world’s populations, governments, and the media. CO2 is one of three necessary ingredients for the health and vibrancy of a forest; the other two being water and nutrients. Without one or the others, a forest becomes stressed and biomass growth slows or ceases and insect and disease pestilence becomes common occurrences, as it had during the period of the Little Ice Age that ended in circa 1850 where atmospheric CO2 levels approached the plant starvation levels. Today, however, CO2 ppmv concentrations have risen to points that have caused an increase in biomass productivity of forests and they are growing again at a healthy rate, relieved of the stressed conditions of the past climatic conditions. Weyerhaeuser’s climatic CO2 statements goes against the very nature of what stimulates forest production by its negative CO2 aspirations and displays their uneducated view on the subject, or an educated marketing view toward an uneducated public.
Given the math used in the article above, the 1% annual harvest of the 25% availability of forest stands may be sustainable momentarily, having all other constraints stable, but as populations grow and the demand for wood products dramatically increases, the end of our forests will be seen in the foreseeable future. When this point arrives, the essence of the forest will be gone forever and climate, and life, will be drastically changed here on earth.