The death of print media is something you hear about often, with causes ranging from a preference for digital applications to the damage the paper industry causes to the environment. While it may be true that many people these days prefer to consume their media digitally, refraining from using paper products can actually harm the environment greatly by inhibiting new tree growth.
Creating a Financial Incentive for Reforestation
Reforestation is the act of clearing out older growth and replacing it with newly planted trees. This can serve to boost oxygen production while also more efficiently capturing carbon from the atmosphere, thereby lessening the negative effects of climate change. Older forests tend to perform these tasks with increasing ineffectiveness as time goes on, which illustrates the importance of regularly planting new trees.
With private owners currently possessing more than half of the forestland within the United States, incentivizing future tree growth is imperative. This is accomplished by purchasing and using paper products, which affords land owners with a solid income. Should this income dissipate because people are no longer willing to purchase products made from paper, the same owners may be forced to repurpose their land so it can be used for other functions.
Just Like Any Other Crop
Trees are just like any other crop to farmers; without a reliable consumer base, profits will decrease and farmers will be forced to find income elsewhere. With tree farmers, this loss of income includes a slightly more sinister concern. Should the 55 million acres of privately owned forestland slated to be sold in the next five years be used for functions other than planting trees, it will make a huge dent in amount of forests within the United States.
This is the outcome of a lessened demand for paper. The paper industry is by and large responsible for reforestation, with 1.7 million trees planted on a daily basis intended to be used for paper production or lumber. This number is bound to drop as more and more people refrain from purchasing paper products out of concern for the environment. Accordingly, land once used primarily for growing trees will serve an altogether different function, one that will most likely not impact the environment in a positive way.
The above shows the importance of taking a thoughtful approach to environmentalism. Instead of forgoing all paper products completely, look for those producers that utilize environmentally friendly procedures when creating their products. By using paper products in a responsible manner, and combining these efforts with other environmentally friendly measures, you can help support those that keep the world populated with fresh, beautiful trees.