Forests are known to be the lungs of the planet. Without forests, life on Earth would quickly decline. They play a key role in regulating the climatic conditions. Trees also absorb 40% of the fossil-fuel emissions we produce. Illegal logging activities have negatively impacted forests and wildlife. As forests diminish in size, we are axing the lungs that help us breathe. At the same time, we are also taking away the natural habitat of many animals.
There is, undoubtedly, greater awareness about the current state of our environment. This is probably why we see the word “sustainability” being used too often. But what does it mean when a business claims to be sustainable? How is a sustainable forest different from any other forest in the world? How are organizations achieving sustainability when it comes to sourcing raw materials from the forest? Let us find out.
What is sustainable forestry?
If you are sourcing products from a forest by cutting down trees, could it ever actually be sustainable? You may think cutting down trees is completely opposed to the conservation of the environment. While this can be true to some extent, sustainable practices are aimed at striking a balance.
By making forestry sustainable, we can pay attention to the needs of the wildlife, forest communities as well as the environment. Typically, a sustainable forest will have trees of all ages and of a variety of species native to the region. Environmentalists suggest to cut down the matured trees and replace them with saplings or seedlings. The forest goes through a continuous process of renewal.
Different people may have different approaches to sustainable forestry. A logger may protect the forest to make sure that there are enough trees so that he can earn a living. Forest landowners may take up sustainable practices to make sure future generations get the land in a good state. For a professional forester, sustainable practices would entail saving the wildlife, the forest communities and the trees. This is why, sustainable forestry is considered to be complex and a broad concept.
Everyone plays a role in saving the forests
The Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) is a forest certification and a program led by SFI Inc. It intends to help people identify products sourced from sustainable forests. Saving forests is not just the job of environmentalists and conservationists. You and I can make a difference by buying products sourced from sustainable forests. Certifications like SFI make it possible for us to choose wisely.
Organizations like the Rainforest Alliance also aim to protect the forests by encouraging sustainable forestry. They educate forest communities to help them earn a livelihood from the forest by adopting sustainable practices. Conservationists even try to connect forest workers with business organizations that want to purchase certified forest products. This helps the communities and forest workers earn a living by maintaining the certification standards.
Foresters also involve themselves in protecting the forest assets. They identify rare and endangered ecosystems and work towards restoring environmental health in these areas. It is also important to work on forest harvesting practices which allow natural regeneration and maintain balance in the forest.
How can you support forest conservation?
Awareness is the key. You can drive awareness by hosting animal workshops in schools and workplaces. An animal handling workshop brings people closer to animals that they may not normally encounter. It gives them the opportunity to understand them and learn about the problems in their survival. For small children, an animal party can be an excellent solution for raising the kids to love animals. We host animal parties where the children get to meet and even handle the animals. Our team also hosts animal school visits where we discuss about conservation efforts.