I f you are reading this article, then you must be okay with cutting trees - you are holding a tree or tree product in your hands. For those of us who work in the forest or who manufacture forest products, we must begin to better understand the essential need to publically advocate for sustainable, active forest management on all lands - both public and private.
Over the last 40 years, we have experienced the precipitous decline of active management of our public forestlands, as well as the dramatic increase in land use regulations which further restrict forest stewardship of our private lands. These trends appear to be increasing as we enter the second decade of the 21st century.
If you use wood, or your business depends on the use of wood, you need to be concerned and begin to engage the larger public to help them understand your need to access land for raw wood materials.
Government claims to support a future economy based upon "green jobs." Yet government actions continue to suppress one of the greenest industries on the planet - the wood industry. The wood industry has been using renewable bioenergy long before it became "politically correct" to do so. Our wood products are biodegradable; and in most cases, renewable - yet regulations would have the public believe otherwise. We are yet to see an EPA definition of biofuels that include most of the forestlands in America.
Few people understand that when they go to fast-food restaurant, their drink is handed to them in a forest product, their napkin is a forest product, their burger is placed in a forest product, and then all of these products are placed in a forest product (the bag). They walk out the door and ironically, most are upset if they learn someone is proposing a timber harvest in their area.
Companies that claim they use only recycled wood simply ignore the fact that wood came from a tree, and yet the public somehow thinks tree harvesting is not needed and that we only need to recycle used paper. Paper cannot be recycled over and over - it has its limits.
When it comes to lumber and sawn wood products, few citizens understand that by using wood we are locking up carbon in the wood for centuries; and as technologies evolve, that wood will likely always be recycled or used as a renewable biofuel. Corn, and the resulting ethanol, cannot compete with wood as a