The climate change bill pending in the U.S. Congress should include provisions that prevent the “destructive dynamic” of deforestation. So says the New York Times in a recent editorial. The editorial included some mind-boggling stats to support its case: “Deforestation accounts for one-fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases — about the same as China’s emissions, more than the emissions generated by all of the world’s cars and trucks. And the world is doing far too little to stop it. An estimated 30 million acres of rain forest disappear every year, destroying biodiversity and pouring billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.”
A major contributor to deforestation is illegal logging, which is exactly what forest certification programs like SFI are designed to avoid. In fact, voluntary third-party forest certification began in the 1990s in response to market concerns about forest management and illegal logging, primarily in developing countries. In the U.S, The State of America’s Forests report prepared by the Society of American Foresters (and based on U.S. Forest Service data) concludes that forested acres in the U.S. have remained relatively stable for the past 100 years (about 755 million acres). And while it’s true that tremendous progress is being made, the fact remains that only 10% of the world’s forests are now certified. SFI is doing its part address the remaining 90%.