Sustainable forest management

Sustainable forest management is recognised as the optimum way to manage our precious forest resources. It's also the foundation from which a 'chain of custody', the process to track the origin of a raw material from the beginning to end of the production process, is established. The chain of custody verifys that the wood used at each stage of the production process comes from a forest independently certified as being managed in a sustainable way.In order to be truly sustainable, biodiversity within the forest must be maintained. Therefore, forest management techniques are constantly being adapted and improved. New forestry projects offer a unique opportunity. Aided by computer technology, the forester can design a forest that takes into account rock and soil structures, and climatic features. To obtain the best ecological balance, analysis of the soil and vegetation helps to determine the best-suited tree species and the most suitable areas to set aside for wildlife management. Visible contours and physical features help to site roads within the landscape, both for efficient management and to offer opportunities for recreation.

Although most European paper companies don't own or manage the large majority of forests that supply the wood they use (only 4% do) the industry is fully committed to supporting the goal of sustainable forest management.

For example, active wood procurement policies mean that companies importing wood from Russia have systems in place to assess the activities of their suppliers and conduct studies in logging areas and track the imported shipments. The European paper industry has a commitment to combat illegal logging and does not use wood that is harvested in violation of national or state laws. The vast majority of the industry's pulpwood: (80%) is sourced in Europe.

Six Criteria for Sustainable Forest Management
Pan-European criteria for sustainable forest management.
These indicators are widely used across Europe today:

  • Maintaining and enhancing forest resources and thus their contribution to the global carbon cycle and the reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere.
  • Preserving the health and vitality of forests' ecosystems.
  • Sustaining and encouraging forests productive functions (wood and non-wood).
  • Maintaining and enriching the biological diversity found in forest ecosystems.
  • Retaining and strengthening forest management's protective functions (particularly soil and water).
  • Preserving other socio-economic functions and conditions of forest.
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