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Industry Insight

Going Green Two Sides Fact Fact #17

WhatTheyThink’s Going Green has joined forces with Two Sides to help address the “perceptions” that paper destroys forests,

By Richard Romano
Published: July 30, 2012

WhatTheyThink’s Going Green has joined forces with Two Sides to help address the “perceptions” that paper destroys forests, that electronic media are “greener” than print and paper, and that recycling is the solution to all environmental ills. According to a study written by Dr. Steve Bratkovich, et al., for Dovetail Partners, “Total mortality of trees in the U.S. amounted to nearly 7.8 billion cubic feet in 2006, marking the highest level of volume loss recorded to date. This is equivalent to a ‘ribbon of wood’ one-foot cubed (12”x12”x12”) encircling the earth about 59 times at the equator.” Which would be kind of cool, actually. Why should you care? When we speak of “tree mortality,” we are in this context not speaking of harvesting. The primary factors causing those tree mortality figures are increasing age (trees after all have a finite lifespan), wildfire, as well as insects and diseases. The same things that affect just about every other living organism. (In terms of insects, says the report, “The mountain pine beetle alone caused 50 percent of the mortality detected in 2006.” And the emerald ash borer is wreaking havoc here in the Northeast. In fact, driving out to Northampton, MA, a couple weeks ago, I saw a slew of those purple ash borer traps along the highway. Hopefully the little buggers haven’t made it to the Berkshires.) Tree mortality is one factor that changes forests from generation to generation—as older trees pass on, newer growth defines the dominant species, and often the ecosystem changes, and wildlife and habitats change. (You know, the kids today, with their hula hoops and their MP3 players.) These are natural systems, and nature is always in a state of flux. However, what good forest management can do is help manage this mortality. Foresters—often employed by timber or paper companies—can help identify insect-related and other problems before they affect substantial acreage. For more Two Sides facts see http://www.twosides.us/mythsandfacts.

Please offer your feedback to Richard. He can be reached at richard@whattheythink.com.



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