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Management Side
The Final Word by Chuck Swann
Fourth on the list of the American Forest & Paper Association's sustainability goals for 2020 is to increase the amount of fiber procured from certified forestlands or through certified fiber sourcing programs in the US from 2005 to 2020, and work to decrease illegal logging. At the start of 2014, AF&PA members' procurement of fiber from certified forestlands reached 29% and fiber procured through certified programs had reached 95%. Both percentages represent considerable increases from the 2005 baseline.

More than 20 years ago, the organization's members agreed to adhere to a set of principles reaching beyond legal requirements. These principles encourage members to procure wood fiber from suppliers trained in sustainable forest practices; who use qualified logging professionals; provide research funding for forestry; and seek to improve forest management practices.

Work on these principles led to development of standards that later became the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, which is today an independent, nonprofit organization. Today, AF&PA members use standards and methods developed by the SFI, the Forest Stewardship Council, the American Tree Farm System and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification.

Privately owned forests supply 91% of the wood used by the US forest products industry; while state, municipal and tribal forests supply 7.0%; and federal forests supply only 2.0%. More than 56% of US forests are privately owned. Maintaining a healthy forest products industry sector provides an economic incentive for landowners to keep land forested rather than developed or farmed. The reforestation of managed lands after harvests also provides environmental benefits not possible if forest stands are left completely in mature stages. Each stage of the forest succession process provides benefits that would not occur without rotational harvest and reforestation cycles.

Recycling Addendum: AF&PA's stated goal for recovering and recycling paper is to exceed 70% by 2020. The industry's recovery rate in 2013 was 63.5%, down slightly from the year before, due in part to recession-induced papermaking cutbacks. To help nudge the recovery rate closer to the 2020 target, AF&PA has announced a new video and a webpage promoting improved paper recycling. Both are available here.

Chuck Swann is the senior editor of Paperitalo Publications. He can be reached by email at chuck.swann@taii.com.

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