Greenhouse gases, also referred to as GHG, impact the Earth’s atmosphere by trapping heat within it. One of those greenhouse gases is carbon dioxide. When forests are healthy and sustainably managed, they sequester carbon from the atmosphere. This helps to counteract the impact greenhouse gases have on our planet. Nature’s Packaging supports the use of sustainably sourced North American lumber for wood packaging
The recently signed deal between Haliburton Forest & Wildlife Reserve and Bluesource Canada looks to bring new hope to managing greenhouse gas emissions by sustainably managing 100,000 acres of forest in Ontario, Canada. The forest presently sequesters approximately 8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and with their partnership with Bluesource Canada, they hope to increase this amount by 75,000 tonnes per year. This will be accomplished by increasing the maturity of trees harvested (rotation times), improving the health of the trees, and harvesting less than the annual growth of new trees.
Many new practices tailored to the type of the forest will be applied, including the “single-tree selection system” and the “uniform shelterwood system.” Single-tree selection is a method that prioritizes the elimination of sick trees that most probably will not survive or grow past the aspired maturity. That way, single-tree selection enhances the overall health and condition of the forest over time. It might be a low-impact harvesting technique but is the favored approach for promoting the growth of shade-tolerant species like the sugar maple and is intended to maximize carbon sequestration for this kind of forest.
Harvesting timber and promoting new growth is believed to be best achieved by using the uniform shelterwood system. In this practice, the larger and more dense parts of the forest are thinned. This creates greater gaps in the canopy, which is intended to allow more light to pass through the canopy and onto the forest floor. This practice will promote new growth of shade-intolerant species of trees like White pine, Red oak, and Black cherry.
The combination of these methods promotes diversity in the forest and over time is expected to sequester 75,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
In our modern and very digital world, pressure is put on limited natural resources like petroleum, charcoal, gas because of the huge demand for plastic and energy products. Just about everything seems to be going plastic which results in depleting Earth’s natural resources. It is quite refreshing to see Canada’s forest sector leading the way for bioeconomy. This is because the forest products portfolio has changed a lot over the last few years. Advanced technology is making it possible for the production sector to produce more low- or no-waste products from wood sources and these products are viable replacements for plastics.
The forestry sector generates many byproducts throughout the process of harvesting timber. These bioproducts add value to waste products that can be converted into food additives, textiles, wood pallets, construction materials, and even fuel for airplanes and cars. These high value products are created by combining advanced technologies with sawdust, wood chips, and even tree leaves and branches. By depending on these renewable resources found in forests, we reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
Canada’s forests are essential for the well-being of Canada’s environment, communities, people and for the economy. Forest management practices are strictly monitored and audited to ensure sustainability and long-term growth. It is incredibly important for forestry sectors to monitor the sustainability of these forests. With proper sustainability management, these forests will be cared for and maintained as much as possible and a healthy ecosystem will be generated over time.
One of the primary purposes for timber harvesting is home construction. However, the quality of lumber used to manufacture wood pallets in North America doesn’t quite make the grade. On average, between 10-15% of a log is used to make wood pallets, as the primary application of high grade lumber is home construction, furniture, and flooring. The lumber used to make new wood pallets is a byproduct and thus supports a renewable and recyclable bioeconomy.
In the United States, the Department of Agriculture recently added wood pallets to their long list of biobased products. According to its website, Biobased products are derived from plants and other renewable agricultural, marine, and forestry materials. Biobased products provide an alternative to conventional petroleum derived products and include a diverse range of offerings such as construction, janitorial, and grounds-keeping products specified and purchased by Federal agencies, to personal care and packaging products used by consumers every day.
Lumber is strong and wood pallets are recyclable. By choosing wood pallets you are choosing a renewable resource that supports healthy and sustainable carbon-sequestering forests.
The United States National Park Service estimates that in the United States, 90% of all forest fires are caused by humans and the remaining 10% are from natural causes. Humans can cause forest fires from campfires that are poorly extinguished and lit cigarette butts that are thrown into brush. The remaining 10% of forest fires are caused by either lightning or lava from an erupting volcano. Canada’s rate of man-made forest fire prevalence is much lower than the United States. The Government of Canada estimates that each year 45% of forest fires are caused by lightning, which accounts for up 81% of the total land burned per year, and 55% of forest fires are caused by humans. Canada’s Wildfire Information System provides a detailed weather map, highlighting forests and grasslands around the country that are at risk for fires, and providing up to date information regarding active forest fires.
In North America, the public campaign to prevent forest fires started in the 1940’s in the United States with Smokey Bear and is the longest-running public service advertising campaign in U.S. history. Since that time, Smokey Bear has become a North American symbol of forest fire prevention as he is widely recognized across the United States and Canada. Smokey Bear’s campaign has evolved from a series of posters and advertisements into active social media presences on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Forest fires that take place near heavily populated areas are by far the most dangerous because of the threats they make on human life and the subsequent property damage that can follow. The Fort McMurray fire of May 2016 in Alberta, Canada was caused by humans and is the costliest fire in Canadian history, costing insurers an estimated $3.58 billion Canadian dollars. In the United States, those charged with starting a forest fire can face heavy legal consequences. Keith Emerald was charged with starting the 2013 Yosemite Rim fire from a campfire on steep terrain. Although charges against him were dropped, he faced a 5-year imprisonment and minimum $250,000 fine. With the threat of jail time and heavy fines, Americans face harsh punishments for starting forest fires. One practice used to prevent forest fires is to schedule a controlled burn, where land that is at high risk for fire is intentionally burned in a supervised and regulated setting. When properly executed, this can give forests the benefit of fire without posing risk to nearby communities or taxing public resources.
The problem remains that the majority of North American forest fires are caused by humans and this puts strain on our public’s resources. However, under the right conditions, fires can be good for the ecosystem because they leave behind an exposed canopy and fertile soil to promote new plant life growth. In fact, certain species of trees that have serotinous cones like certain species of California’s great sequoia and Canada’s jack pine need fire in order for their seeds to dry, open, and germinate to promote new life. New plant life and tree growth must be supported in order for North American forests to continue providing lumber for our future.