Trees provide us with a multitude of products, such as food, palm oil, fuel, building and paper products, which are all expected to see booming demand.
Global Demand for industrial roundwood, derived from growth in demand for end products – sawn wood, wood-based panels and paper and paperboard – is expected to increase by more than 40 percent to 2030.
There is also rapid increase in the use of wood as a source of energy, particularly in Europe, due to policies promoting greater use of renewable energy. Estimates are for an increase in global production to 1075 million tonnes oil equivalent (MTOE) in 2030, from about 530 (MTOE) in 1970.
Innovation in wood-based products is also driving demand as the need for sustainable materials accelerates. New uses for lignin – a composite material derived from wood-supplied bio-refineries – are rapidly emerging, such as for electrical storage in renewable energy applications.
Wood-plastic composites (WPCs) are composite materials made of wood fibre and thermoplastics, including PVC. Overall, they have a lower environmental impact, depending on the ratio of renewable to non-renewable materials.
Bioplastics made from bio-based materials are used in various types of packaging and hygiene materials, cellophane or other cellulose-based materials, and new textile materials such as Tencel.
At the same time, trees also have important functions. They can absorb and store carbon dioxide (CO2) that could otherwise contribute to climate change. Forests also regulate water cycles, maintain soil quality, and reduce the risks of natural disasters such as floods.
Growing environmental awareness and consumer demand for businesses to use forest products in order to reduce their environmental impacts led to the development of the third-party certification in the 1990s.
Forest certification verifies that forests are well-managed – according to set standards – while supply chain certification tracks wood and paper products from the certified forest through processing to the point of sale.
There are more than fifty certification standards worldwide, addressing the diversity of forest types and tenures.