Concept for Wood Procurement | The Stance of the Japanese Paper Industry
Activities based on the “Sustainable Forest Management”
Forests can be divided into “conservation forests” to protect species at risk and biodiversity, and “production forests” to be used to supply raw materials for industrial purposes. The wood the paper industry uses as raw material is, of course, harvested from the latter category. The “production forests,” too, require attentive caring. The harvesting must be done correctly, selecting which trees to be left uncut, so as to facilitate the regeneration and rejuvenation of the forest.
|Examples of advantages by appropriate harvesting and regeneration||Examples of disadvantages by no harvesting and regeneration|
|Prevention of global warming by young trees with high CO2 absorption||Risk of forest fire due to the fall of old trees|
|Lower CO2 absorption effect due to the increase of old trees|
What is “sustainable forest management”?
The concept of “sustainable forest management” started to draw serious attention worldwide during the 1990s when the issue of environmental protection began to take a global dimension. The concept reflects the Forest Principles, a document produced at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (“Earth Summit”) held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Sustainable forest management seeks to maintain the integrity of the forest ecosystem and to avail its vitality for the diverse needs of humankind in a sustainable manner. The Forest Principles state that “Forest resources and forest lands should be sustainably managed to meet the social, economic, ecological, cultural and spiritual needs of present and future generations. These needs refer to forest products and services, such as wood and wood products, water, food, fodder, medicine, fuel, shelter, employment, recreation, habitats for wildlife, landscape diversity, carbon sinks and reservoirs, and other forest products.”
Concrete measures for realization
Japan is a member country of the Montreal Process, an international working group for the conservation and sustainable management of temperate and boreal forests other than those in Europe, along with the US, Canada, Russia, China, and other countries. The Montreal Process has set out criteria and indicators to assess the progress of “sustainable forest management.” International follow-up works are currently underway toward their practical application. Another scheme to ensure “sustainable forest management” is the “forest certification system.” There are a number of such system in the world now with due respect to the differing conditions among the countries and regions but all with the same goal of pursuing ideal forest management based on more universal values.