As the source of one quarter of all paper, the southeast
U.S. is the largest paper producing region in the world. The
paper industry logs an estimated 6 million acres in the region each year, and book
paper is one of the top 10 paper products that are derived from this region accounting for 6-10% of regional paper
production. Additionally, more than 3 million tons of newsprint
are derived from the region each year.
The forests in the southeast U.S. are the most ecologically diverse in North America, and often these forests are replaced with single specie tree farms. In fact, it is estimated that 15% (32 million acres) of southern forests consist of pine plantation.
southeast U.S. highly diverse forests are being converted to
single-species tree plantations”
These plantations do not resemble a forest in appearance or
function, as the neat rows of trees support 90% fewer species.
Plantations also require the use of large quantities of toxic
pesticides and fertilizers. 75% of the plantations that have
been established in the past 20 years have been developed at the
expense of natural forests. Unfortunately the area that these
plantations cover is expected to increase to 52 million
acres by 2040.
Tree plantations are not inherently bad, and can be part of a
sound forest management plan. However, this is not what is occurring in
the southeastern U.S. where vast areas of diverse forest are converted
to plantations. Included in this region is the
Cumberland plateau, which has been designated as a “biogem” by
the Natural Resource Defense Council.
More about the Cumberland Plateau can be found
Dogwood Alliance Summary of Southern Forest Resource Assessment
A report by Dogwood Alliance highlighting the threats facing
forests in the southern U.S.
Dogwood Alliance Homepage Dogwood Alliance’s long term goals
are to protect and restore the South’s endangered forests, end
unsustainable forestry practices, and increase the industry’s
use of post-consumer recycled and other environmentally
preferable sources of fiber in the production of paper.
NRDC Biogem Info An overview of the biodiversity of the
Cumberland Plateau and the challenges posed by forest