Myths Facts

The truth about paper

Deforestation is increasing, we are destroying the last forests
700,000 hectares more forest per annum in Europe

The global rate of deforestation is decreasing. Forest areas are growing in Europe

  • 31% of the total land area of the planet is covered by forests
  • 4,000 million hectares of forests
  • 0.6 hectares per inhabitant

The rate of deforestation is decreasing

The net loss of forests in the world has been reduced quite considerably: it has gone from 8.3 million hectares per annum in the 1990s to 5.2 million hectares per annum in the period 2000-2010. All this is due to the natural expansion of forests and to reforestation, to tree planting.

In the period 2000-2010, in Europe and Asia, forests have grown and in North and Central America they are maintained:

  • 7700,000 hectares more forest per annum in Europe
  • 2.2 million hectares more forest in per annum in Asia

FAO: Global Forest Resource Assessment. 2010

Spain is becoming a desert
European countries with most forests: Russia, Sweden, Finland and Spain

Spain is one of the countries in the world with the largest increase in forest area

The largest forest areas in Europe are those of Russia, Sweden, Finland, Spain and France.

FAO: Global Forest Resource Assessment. 2010

In Spain forests have increased.
1990 – 13.8 million hectares
2000 – 17.0 million hectares
2005 – 17.3 million hectares
2010 – 18.2 million hectares

DG Rural Development and Forestry Policy MAGRAMA

Annual growth of wood in Spain
46.3 million m3 w/b

Annual wood felling in Spain for all uses ⇒15,5 million m3 w/b ⇒ 33% annual growth in wood

ASPAPEL: Statistical report 2013

Forests are destroyed to make paper
Wood for paper is grown in plantations

More paper = More trees

Deforestation is largely due to conversion of forests to arable land.

FAO: Global Forest Resource Assessment, 2010

  • Paper is NOT manufactured from exotic species from tropical forests, nor from deciduous or evergreen oaks or beech.
  • The wood used for paper making are fast growing species (mainly eucalyptus and pine in Spain), that is purpose grown in forest plantations that are being continually regenerated and replanted and that would not otherwise exist.
  • The Spanish paper sector manufactures about two million tonnes of cellulose per annum, for which it uses about six million cubic metres of eucalyptus and pine wood, grown for that purpose in forest plantations, that are planted and maintained for that purpose

ASPAPEL: Statistical Report 2013

There are so many plantations: they are filling Spain with eucalyptus trees
Plantations for paper: 2.7% of the total area of forests in Spain

Paper plantations are established on fallow land and help to preserve the forests

Total area of woods: 18.2 million hectares. DG Rural Development and Forestry Policy MAGRAMA

Plantations of pine and eucalyptus for paper: 487,510 hectares ⇒ 2,7% of the total area. ASPAPEL: Update 2014 Sustainability Memorandum

The plantations are made on land that is fallow due to abandonment of agricultural crops so tree covered areas are increased due to the plantations.

Plantations of fast growing species, precisely due to that specific characteristic, allow the largest amount of wood to be obtained from the least area and thus preserve the forests.

Plantations are damaging to the environment
Paper plantations store 32 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent

Paper plantations are efficient carbon sinks

Plantations of fast growing species (eucalyptus, pine) are large CO  sinks and help to halt climate change. Once the wood reaches maturity, it ceases to capture carbon, so these productive plantations are an environmental opportunity. The 487,510 hectares of pine and eucalyptus plantations for paper store million tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

DG of Rural Development and Forestry Policy MAGRAMA

The carbon stored is not released when the tree is felled, but rather remains in the forestry products. For example,  in  books,  the  paper  is  stored  for  decades  -and  generations-  in  our  libraries;  and  through recycling, the paper extends the term of that carbon sequestration.

1 kilo of paper stores 1.3 kilos of CO2,

depending on the proportion of cellulose fibres comprising it*

Plantations allow effective control of soil erosion thanks to their roots and help to regulate the water cycle through their branches and leaves that retain rain water, so it reaches the ground with less force, remains on the surface and gradually penetrates the deepest layers.

Plantations are managed sustainably, assuring maintenance of their ecological, social and economic functions, which is certified through forestry certification systems such as FSC, PEFC…

(*) According to the procedure to calculate CO  included in the paper -biogenic-.