THE MYTH:

Planted Forests are bad for the environment

THE FACT:

Well-managed planted forests reduce the pressure on natural forests and can provide many other environmental benefits

Planted Forests

Well-managed planted forests reduce the pressure on natural forests and can provide many other environmental benefits

Forests are essential for the transition to the green economy. Well managed planted forests are a vital element in the global forestry mix.

Natural forest accounts for 93% of world’s forest area with planted forest occupying 7%, or 290 million hectares.1

Planted Forests: 

  • In Europe, are not replacing natural forests
  • Can be more productive and can grow faster than natural forests 
  • Can be independently certified 
  • Can provide new recreational facilities 
  • Can prevent soil degradation and erosion 
  • Provide new habitat shade and shelter for wildlife 
  • Contribute to rural development 

“Well-managed planted forests can be useful in providing various forest goods and services and helping to reduce the pressure on natural forests”
FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment, 2015

“Planted forests can be environmentally sound sources of renewable energy and industrial raw material”
WWF, Living Forest Report, 2012, Ch 4

Planted Forests can be well managed. Initiatives such as the FAO Guidelines for Responsible Forest Management of Planted Forests and forest certification can help maintain ecosystems and biodiversity, protect High Conservation Values, involve multiple stakeholders and aid economic development.

Worldwide re-forestation will require expansion of a range of plantation types. 

  • The WWF Living Forests Model projects that around 250 million hectares of new tree plantations for all end uses might need to be established by 2050 due to population and GDP growth
  • 11 million of those might be needed in Europe
  • The paper Industry is one user of many, including lumber and, increasingly, biofuels

WWF, Living Forest Report 2012, Ch 4


1FAO, 2015. Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015, How are the World's Forests Changing?