Here's a photo of a typical commercial logging site that has been clear-cut. Notice the total devastation that has occurred on the cleared land. There is no more eco-system there, no forest vitality, no living creatures that could continue to survive in this wreckage.
Although many logging operations are now replanting trees to replace ones that have been cut down, how could one possibly "replant" an entire ecosystem? The new trees that are often planted on neat and orderly tree farms, although certainly better than nothing, in no way match the natural and vigorous vitality of a forest ecosystem. Something irreplaceable has been lost every time a forest is cleared. It is for that very reason that no area should ever be "clear cut". Some old growth trees and underbrush should be left to help anchor the ecosystem's regrowth and prevent total devastation.
Unfortunately such selective harvesting can be costly and time-consuming. With the vast amount of wood products being consumed world-wide, it is important for us, as consumers, to start identifying where our paper and wood products have come from, and how they were harvested. Here are a few tips to get started with:
1. Always use recycled paper: The first place to start replacing conventional paper products with recycled ones is in the office. Recycled office paper products can be purchased at most office supply stores, and also at specialty green office suppliers like Greenline Paper Company.
2. Recycled Paper in the Kitchen: Seventh Generation makes a sturdy line of recycled kitchen paper products. They have paper towels that now come in a Select-a-Size roll for convenience and even less waste. Seventh Generation also makes Recycled Napkins that come in an economical 500-pack.
3. Use recycled toilet paper: We are going to stress this one, because although we know it is difficult for some people to make the switch, it is especially important with toilet paper. We have a love affair with cushiony and soft toilet paper, which must be made from virgin fiber in order to achieve such softness. Recycled toilet paper is much rougher than the velvet luxury of many of our most popular brands, but at the rate we go through TP, it makes such a difference. We are killing way too many trees just to wipe our bottoms!!
4. Buy Sustainably-Harvested Wood Products: Look for items that, at the very lest, bear the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification. Though the certification is not all-encompassing, it does guarantee some basic minimums, like that all the trees cut down were at least replanted in equal or greater numbers. Even better, look for items that were harvested by hand, like our Handmade Wood Cutting Boards, which guarantees that trees were cut down one at a time, leaving the forest basically intact. Such sustainable harvesting can even benefit a forest ecosystem, thinning out dense areas and allowing immature trees to get the sunlight and moisture necessary for further growth.