THE FOREST, THE SOURCE
The forest is the source of the paper cycle: it all starts in the plantations where paper is planted and grown. The forest and forest-based products like paper form part of an integrated cycle.
Paper is natural and renewable because it grows on trees. Wood used to make paper is planted and grown in Spain in plantations that are continuously being regenerated and replanted. 78% of the 5.7 million cubic metres of wood that the Spanish pulp and paper industry used as raw material in 2014 came from the local pine and eucalyptus plantations, that stand on 420,580 hectares, 2.3% of this country’s total forest landcover. The rest of the wood is imported and also comes from plantations of the same species.
Paper also makes trees grow: more paper means more trees and more jobs in rural areas. Paper plantations help increase tree surface areas. In fact, according to FAO, forests are growing in Spain and Europe and worldwide deforestation rate is being reduced.
Papermaking means jobs in rural areas: 4,660 direct Jobs related to replanting and forestry of wood plantations and 15,378 indirect jobs (machinery, transport, workshops…) in Spain.
Eucalyptuses and pine trees used by the pulp and paper industry are trees that absorb great amounts of CO2 as a result of their rapid growth (yearly, the eucalyptus fixes twice the amount of carbon than the chestnut tree and five times faster than the holm oak). 420,580 hectares of plantations for papermaking from which the sector sourced its procurement in 2014 store 27.9 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent: more paper means less CO2 in the atmosphere.
Society’s demand for forest-based products is increasing and so forest certification is essential in that it assures the consumer that those products come from sustainably managed forests. At present, 72% of paper mills and 100% of pulp mills have a certified Chain of Custody, as do 85% of wood suppliers. In just a few years, great progress has been made and today, 51% of market pulp production and 46% of the sold paper production is certified.