The most accurate census of the world’s trees ever taken concludes there are a whopping 7.5 times more trees on earth than previously estimated.
The census, published in September 2015, estimates that the global tree population comes to 3.04 trillion trees, or 422 trees for every person alive.
Trillions more trees is certainly welcome news, but the census also reveals that the number of trees on the planet has dropped almost 46% since the dawn of civilization, when people began altering the landscape for farming.
This is cause for concern. We have a whole lot more trees than we thought, but humans have reduced original stands by almost half, and the rate we’re felling trees across the globe continues apace. An astounding 15 billion trees are cut down every year. The decline in forests impacts the climate and human health.
What should responsible people do who work in printing, an industry that obviously relies on trees? And what should print customers think about all of this? Can they in good conscience use print and still be good stewards of this threatened resource?
Here are some suggestions and things to think about.
- Make informed choices about papers, depending on your project. High image projects require bright papers made from virgin fibers, but most everything else can go onto papers with post-consumer content.
(It’s worth noting that 33% of paper in the US is made from wood chips and sawmill scraps, not from newly cut trees. Another 33% comes from recycled material.)
- Design to reduce waste. Negative (empty) space is critical to good design, but always try to use substrates efficiently.
- Employ print-on-demand solutions. Digital print shops can print what you need when you need it. This reduces guesswork about print runs and associated waste.
- Be a full-bore recycler. Most of America’s paper is made from recovered material. This percent is growing. Help out by conscientiously recycling every scrap of paper and cardboard you use.
- Keep in mind a fact that may seem paradoxical at first glance: paper consumption actually grows more trees. American woodlot owners plant 3-4 trees for every one they harvest. By providing a market for responsibly grown forest products, the paper and printing industries—and their customers—help keep these people in business planting, harvesting and re-planting, to preserve our woodlands.
 The 15-nation study team led by Yale University experts used a combination of state-of-the-art satellite and supercomputer technology, plus old fashioned manual counting, to produce what they claim is the most comprehensive tree census ever.
Read the original article in the journal Nature, T. W. Crowther lead author, http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v525/n7568/full/nature14967.html.
A summary can be read at http://www.livescience.com/52070-global-tree-census-human-impacts.html
 The Value of Print Flipbook, http://bluetoad.com/publication/?i=118172