The future of our forests

Published 19 March 2019
Global warming, forest degradation, and biodiversity loss are some of the most important challenges in the world at the moment. Could sustainable forestry help reduce the impacts?
“The biggest challenges for the world’s forests are societal”, says Antti Marjokorpi, Head of Forests, Plantations and Land Use, Sustainability, at Stora Enso. “Two opposite issues – poverty and over-consumption – are causing forest loss and degradation. In poverty-stricken countries, forests may be logged extensively for basic needs such as food production and firewood. The growing consumption of citizens in wealthy countries , on the other hand, increases the pressure for land use changes everywhere.”

Global warming poses another challenge. Forests adapt to changing conditions but the combination of rapid changes in land use – that lead to forest degradation or even deforestation – and changing climate brings new, unprecedented issues.

What can companies do to tackle these challenges?

“A lot”, says Marjokorpi. “At Stora Enso, we ensure that all the wood we use comes from sustainably managed forests. It means that these forests are always regenerated and biodiversity is preserved, for example by protecting valuable areas and species. This can be done so that the forests bring social and economic benefits to people.”

Stora Enso uses various tools to ensure sustainable forestry, such as forest certification and wood traceability. “Certification verifies that all aspects of sustainability – social, environmental, and economic – are taken into account”, Marjokorpi says. “We actively promote the main forest certification systems, including FSC and PEFC. In 2018, we also entered into a partnership with FSC.”

But with the worrying global trends, will there still be healthy forests in 100 years? “I believe so”, Marjokorpi says, “But it’s ultimately up to us as consumers and citizens. Renewable materials that come from sustainably managed forests have a huge potential to combat global warming. We work every day to ensure that Stora Enso’s forestry practices contribute to a better future.”