This statement will deal with these issues and the references to the scientific, government and commercial sources of the assertions I have made.
FORESTS AND FORESTRY
THE ENVIRONMENTALLY BENEFICIAL AND SUSTAINABLE SOURCE OF PACKAGING AND PAPER
1. Destruction or depletion of forests:
1.1. A forest resource from which timber is extracted will replace lost wood fibre by the growth of the remaining trees and the seeding and growth of new trees, provided that the forest is managed on a sustainable basis. In most locations, the growth of the trees remaining will accelerate on the removal of either forest thinnings or mature trees.
If the forest is cleared with the intention of turning the area to another use, such as agriculture or urbanisation, then it will be lost forever. A natural, or virgin, unmanaged forest will recover from the selective felling of mature trees, provided that the intrusion of pests, fungi, wind, fire or man for any reason does not destroy it.
i. While there are contemporary examples of clear felling of forests without subsequent management of any kind, these are almost entirely limited to the remoter areas of the former USSR, and do not apply to the regions from which the suppliers of McDonald's packaging and paper obtain their raw material.
1.2. I am advised that the source of wood based raw material for McDonald's packaging and paper is The United States, and Canada, Scandinavia, France, Germany and Italy. A proportion of these supplies is understood to come from the U.K. and some may have been obtained from the Czech Republic.
ii. The afforested areas of these Countries is as follows:
|Total land area Million hectares||% forest covered||Productive Forest, Thousand Hectares.||% Publicly owned|
The "productive forest. area represents the source of forest products and the standing timber stock of these Countries. The additional forest cover is relevant to this case in terms of the many forest parks, nature and biological reserves and remote protected areas of forests in each Country. These provide many environmental benefits to mankind, including carbon dioxide (C02) absorption and the carbon sink he bribed later in this statement.
Details of the Czech Republic resources are being obtained.
iii. The timberlands of the USA now contain 28% more standing timber volume than in 1952. Replanting covers more than 1.2 million hectares and is at a rate of 6 million seedlings every day, a total of 2.3 billion potential trees planted every year. The stock of standing trees in the U.S. increased by 5% by volume for softwoods (coniferous trees) and 69% for hardwoods (broadleaved trees) between 1952 and 1987.
iv. Canada has over one billion acres (405 million hectares) of forest. From 1986/1989, only 1.2% of Canada's 233 million hectares of productive timberland was harvested. In 1992 the growth of timber from natural regeneration, planting and
v seeding and the growth of standing timber was 3,641 million cubic metres against a harvest of 1,693 million cubic metres. The loss of timber by pests and fire in that year was estimated at 1,394 million m3 giving a net increase in the forest stock of 554 million ma. The depletions by fire and pests are intrusions due more to nature than to man. Over 40% of the loss by fire was estimated to be caused by lightning.
vi. The annual average of increase of the stock of softwoods in Sweden in the 1980's was 26%. The increase in volume of standing timber since 1923 totalled 1,230 million cubic metres.
iv. In Finland the average increase in softwood stocks in the 1980's was 18%. The total harvesting rates, including industrial wood, residues and fuelwood during the 1980's, were between 50 and 55 million cubic metres per annum, compared to estimated growth of 70 million cubic metres. Of the species commonly
vii used for pulp manufacture and construction, pine and spruce, the cut averaged 66% of the annual growth of timber. 80t of the timber used by the Finnish forestry industry comes from privately owned family farms. Most of the cuttings are thinnings and the average size of clear cut is about 2 hectares. In State owned forest the average clear cut site is bigger but a clear cut larger than 10 hectares is not allowed.
iv France has reforested 1.9 million hectares since the late 1940's The current rate of addition is around 30,000 hectares per annum. The standing volume of timber is estimated at 1.6 billion cubic metres with annual harvesting of 30 million cubic metres, in roughly equal proportions of softwood and hardwood.
Germany, like France has enjoyed a tightly controlled forest regime for over 200 years and the growing stock continues to increase.
i In Northern Europe and Scandinavia as a whole, the area of coniferous forestry has been extended- through new planting and regeneration by about 2.5%. The twelve Countries of the
viii EEC, excluding Scandinavia and all former Eastern Block Countries produce around 118 million m3 of tinker, covering 52% of their requirements. Imports are predominantly from Scandinavia and the former USSR and Canada for construction purposes, with a proportion of pulp and paper from the same sources.
i These figures of output compare with Britain's production in 1992 of 7 million m3, covering around 15% of its total timber useage. The forecast for timber production in the U.K. for the period 2007-2011 is 10.8 million ma and for 2022-2026 it is 19.6 million ma, due to the increasing maturity of plantation forests. It is for reasons of this increasing resource that there has been an investment in timber processing in the U.K. of over £ 1 billion in the last decade, including pulp and paper processing plant of the most advanced design.
In each region of the sources for raw material supply for packaging and paper production the resources are increasing, not diminishing. The growth of timber stocks exceeds the harvesting levels of the relevant Countries. Only the natural disasters of fire and pest and wind are likely to upset this programme, far less so in the Northern Countries of Europe and Europe generally than in Canada and the United States. It is an essential part of management of forests, especially plantation forests to overcome these problems.
1.3. The area of forest required to supply McDonald's with the fibre for the production of packaging and paper.
ix The resources of managed forests, supplying the timber to make the pulp from which the packaging used by McDonalds' is derived,
- are numerous in each of the Countries concerned. Timber is often drawn from State and privately owned forests, often purchased by tender or auction and sometimes on long term contracts. Some Companies own their own forest resources, but in many Countries forests are owned by the State or the regional governments. For British Columbia, for example, 93% of the forest is State-owned, and for Europe the average is over 40%. The Governments of some Countries offer "concession areas" to harvesting companies on strict terms of forest management and regeneration programmes.
The basis of extraction of timber, the harvest of wood for many purposes, is largely the same for all these Countries, since almost all timber for packaging and paper comes from managed forests which are plantation grown. The following definition of timber volumes supplied for packaging purposes by the U.K. Forestry Commission to the largest cartonboard producer in the U.K., Iggesund Paperboard (Workington) Ltd., is both typical and indicative of the volumes of wood consumed to make 1,000 tonnes of cartonboard:
(1) For every saleable 1000 tonnes of cartonboard the production process will use 1,590 tonnes of pulpwood, plus
180 tonnes of sawmill residue, and some imported hardwood market pulp and various additives such as clay.
(2) the proportions of pulpwood in harvested timber can be varied to take account of market prices for different products. Similarly the amount derived from forest thinnings will depend on silvicultural practices designed to meet a variety of long term objectives including crop improvement and environmental changes in the forest structure for conservation, recreation, etc. Using the balance of these factors currently applied in Forest Enterprise South Scotland region, the following statistics have been derived as related to 1,000 tonnes of cartonboard.
Area thinned: 8.4 hectares to give 504 m3 roundwood.
Area clear felled: 17.8 hectares to give 5,340 m3 roundwood
The forests of South Scotland are relatively immature and are subject to restrictions on thinning caused by the risk of windthrow over large areas. Elsewhere in the Country, and also in other forest resource Countries, the proportion of thinned area would be higher. Thinning the forest allows remaining trees to grow faster and to larger dimension for higher value products.
(3) Sawnwood is the higher value product of the forests, which means trees of full maturity and those lengths of the tree which produce a minimum sawmill diameter, normally considered to be above 300 mm. or more. Smaller dimensions and lower grade wood do not command sawmill prices and are sold for shipboard, or other board production, and the lowest grades are sold for pulp.
The other products of the harvest, by both thinning and clear felling, which is not sold to Iggesund to make the 1000 tonnes of cartonboard in this example, would produce:
Sawnwood derived from sawlogs: 1,883 m3
Sawmill residues in the process of sawing: 1,261 tonnes
Sawmill residues in the form of bark: 290 ma
(4) The sawmill residues are used in both board production and the pulp for cartonboard and for paper making. The bark is most often sold to make mulch or compost for use in horticulture and gardens. The wide variety of use of the thinnings of a managed forest and the eventual clear felling of areas of mature plantations makes it impractical precisely to define the area likely to be "clear felled" for packaging. In this example, 17.8 hectares were clear felled, but only a proportion of the timber harvested from that area was converted to pulp. That proportion was approximately 30%.
If the consumption of packaging by McDonalds in 1992 was, as advised to me, 13,949 tons (excluding recycled material), the example here would indicate that (17.8 X 13.949 =) 248 hectares of forest of the kind which supplies Iggesund in the U.K. would be required to fulfill their requirements, from which 70% of the volume felled would be sold for other products, largely for construction materials.
The figure of 248 hectares, or 100.4 acres, is the equivalent of .96 square miles of forest felling.
Relating these volumes and areas of timber production annually to the Countries supplying McDonald's packaging raw material, 248 hectares is a tiny proportion of the available resource.
Evidence provided by Mr. David Kouchoukos indicated that 9.4 square miles of forest would be felled in the U.S.A. to provide McDonalds' with 88,761 tons of packaging material. This would indicate a felling area in Europe for the provision of 13,949 tons of packaging (excluding recycled content) of 1.46 square miles. This is the equivalent of 378 hectares, not 248 hectares, which was calculated by the Forestry Commission in the example quoted in this evidence. It would seem from this that the average yield of forests in the U.S. is not around 300 m3 but 120m3 per hectare. However, this is a low figure of yield from any plantation forest. It is likely that only some 40% of the outturn of the forest harvest is supplied for pulp, the remainder going to sawmill or plywood production, and that this was not taken into account by Mr. Kouchoukos. If this is assumed, and it is difficult to understand that any forest area of mature trees would ever be sold or utilised by a forest owning papermill entirely for such low value purposes as cartonboard production, then the figures used in evidence here are consistent and likely to apply approximately to other sources in Europe and elsewhere. Our estimate for felling of forest, specifically for McDonald's requirements of 13,949 tons of cartonboard and other paper, is therefore 30% of 248 hectares or 74.4 hectares or .29 square miles.
Within three years, by law in Sweden and Finland and according to both the economics of forestry and the actual practice in all other Countries related to this case, the forest area felled will have been replanted with seedlings to begin again the cycle of 50 - go years of growth to maturity.
2. The environmental effects of monoculture and plantations:
2.1. The use of pesticides and fungicides:
Regulations and practice in the E.C.
Pesticides are used in forestry only-by necessity, and they can be applied by hand, by ground level spraying or aerial spreading on either plantation or natural forest areas. In practice, it is quite uneconomical to apply pesticides unless they are essential to reduce or eliminate serious infections, or they are applied in the preparation of seedlings before planting out.
All Countries have Regulations concerning pesticides, and x these are increasingly stringent. For the U.K. there is the Code of Practice for the Use of Pesticides in Forestry (1989) and the Forestry Commission policy on pesticide for application for both privately owned and State owned forests is:
(1) To provide an efficient and effective method of establishing and protecting plantations and raising nursery stock.
(2) To be applied safely without endangering operators, the interests of neighbours and visitors;
(3) Not to have adverse impact on water supplies, amenity or wildlife conservation. This form of regulation is applied in all European Countries.
Many forests exist naturally, either in monocultures or in association with only a few species as, for example, in temperate coniferous forests and the nothofagus forest of New Zealand. The establishment of such specie'; in plantations is therefore not a radical departure from the natural vegetation pattern and should not automatically make them more vulnerable to insect pests. Several pests, such as the nun moth, the balsam woolly aphid, and the prevalent gypsy moth, are serious pests of both kinds of forest. In Canada it was found that mixtures of Spruce and Douglas Fir can lead to outbreaks and that a reduction in diversity would be beneficial.
xi Successful implementation, within environmental guidelines, depends on efficient organisation at the local and regional levels and usually involves government support and legislation. In general, plantations will be more amenable to silvicultural manipulation than extensive and inaccessible natural forest areas.
Some important pests are associated with pathogenic organisms such as fungi, so that resistance to these organisms, as well as to the insects themselves, will be an important factor in the successful exploitation of the tree. Here again this is more easily achieved in plantation forests.
Pesticides have been less widely used in European forests than in those in North America. The extent of damage by pests in Canada has been mentioned here. Since the 1980's the U.S. and Canada have adopted a biological insecticide, Bacillus thuringiensis, which is a natural bacterium that occurs in soils everywhere. At present Bt is the commercially available alternative to the synthetic pesticides such as fenitrothion for protecting forests from spruce budworm and other insects, but it cannot be used effectively against all insect pests. Research into environmentally appropriate and selectively effective pesticides continues in all Countries, paid for from the revenues of forest products.
In Sweden, the use of pesticides has been banned for many years. Pesticides are not used in Finnish forestry.
xii In the U.K. chemical control, using fungicides, is relatively little used to deal with tree diseases as it is generally too expensive except in the tree nursery. The use of pesticides is covered by the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986.
The European Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) was formed in 1951 and the European Community has prepared its own Plant Health Directive (1977) which is binding on all its members. Its principle aim is to stop the spread of plant diseases from one region to another. Environmental considerations are of major importance in this control over the forest and forest products. Between 1978 and 1987 18,193 hectares of U.K. forest were sprayed against Panolis Flammea.
In East and West Germany, taken together, an average of about 21,000 hectares per year (5% of the total forest) were treated between 1925 and 1968. A major exception was the outbreak of nun moth in Poland in 1978-83, when 2.5 million hectares were sprayed. These were mainly Scots Pine on extremely poor sandy soils which were highly vulnerable to this attack. Present day forest management programmes would be unlikely to establish such vulnerable forest resources.
Two other considerations apply to treatment of forests with any form of pesticide. Continuous use builds up resistance of the pest species, and also tends to destroy the natural enemies of the pest which attacks the life of the tree. The use of natural enemies in the control of tree damaging insects is now well established and has proved highly effective in the U.K. with Rhizophagus grandis, a specific predator controlling the spread of Dendroctonus Micans in North Wales. Dutch elm disease, on the other hand could not be controlled by either pesticides nor natural enemies and trees, growing naturally, not in plantations, had to be felled to prevent the further spread of disease. This technique is adopted frequently in forest management. The spread of Pissoides in Corsican Pine forests of East Anglia has been halted by clear felling of forest around the infected area.
Disease in trees can be controlled by many means, from prevention of outbreak spread, to natural enemies. The environmental risks of pesticides are known and are controlled by laws in every Country concerned with this case. The commercially available pesticides are becoming increasingly specific in their effectiveness and their environmental control. The continuing development of these methods depends on wise forest management and a fair return on the investment in forestry of all Nations and their industries. The effects of leaching of pesticides into water courses will be referred to in a following section.
2.2. The use of fertilisers: The European practice;
xiii Fertilizer applied before planting of seedlings, whether in existing semi-natural forests or after clear felling, is necessary only if the soil conditions are deficient in nutrients. The practice of leaving the brash, or small limbs of coniferous trees on clear felled areas, contributes to the nutrient supply for the young seedlings. It is for this reason, that many clear felled areas are left for two to three years for gradual decomposition of the residue. The use of fertilisers is much less common in replanting because of this improvement to the nutritional status of the soil.
Fertilizer use is more common in the uplands where soil condition for new planting are deficient, but, in the lowlands, planting and management of woodlands involves little or no fertiliser or ground disturbance, so that erosion rates and the leaching of nitrates are close to "naturals values.
Environmental concerns over the use of fertiliser have been almost entirely concerned with leaching into water
xiii courses and rivers. The volume of fertiliser applied to forest lands compared to agricultural land is extremely small and very short term. Lowland forestry is a less intensive form of land management than most forms of lowland agriculture, and the replacement of heavily fertilised arable land by woodland is likely to have advantages for water quality.
Hand applied fertilisers have little leaching-effect, and the concerns expressed by Environmental organisations have applied to aerial spreading of fertiliser, in the U.K. and other Countries. Anglers are well organised in this concern and the National Rivers Authority support research with close cooperation with the Forestry Commission research establishments in the U.K.
Studies have shown that about 10% of the amount of phosphate applied on forest land can be expected to be lost in run-off, although there has been little evidence of algal blooms, which sometimes develop after fertiliser applications to agricultural land. It has recently been shown that under some circumstances, ammonium concentrations in streams can increase to high values for short periods following applications of urea to forests. Such applications are neither widespread nor frequent and the biological effects are usually undetectable.
xiv Despite the lack of evidence of any significant problems resulting from fertiliser use in forestry, it is nevertheless important to minimise losses in nutrient run-off. To this end The forests and water guidelines" "published by the Forestry Commission] provide advice on a number of measures designed to keep losses to a minimum.
vii In Sweden and Finland, where there is a high degree of natural mono-culture, the whole silviculture regime is is aimed to mimic nature. On poor soils they use those tree species which grow there naturally. Fertilizers were used on bigger scale in the 1970's, mainly on mature stands. Nowadays the use of fertilisers is very limited The golf courses in Finland (of which there are not very many) use more fertiliser per year than forestry. There are usually good opportunities in the boreal forests of Scandinavia and Russia to use natural regeneration as the main method to replace mature stands with seedling stands.
Regulations of this kind are applied in all Government Policies related to forests in the E.C. and Scandinavia for the protection of rivers and water supply.
The statement has been made in evidence that mono-cultures, and plantation forests as a source of raw material for packaging damage the environment, and cause an absence of natural and diverse ecosystems.
xiv "North American conifers in British forests provide sustainable resources in the form of timber, native wildlife, recreational opportunities and, with careful management, aesthetically pleasing landscape." "Managed forests are also readily available for a range of experimental treatments to develop management regimes for big-diversity objectives. n These statements describe the commitment of British forestry to objectives of environmental responsibility.
xiii In 1991-92 The Forestry Commission spent 10.3 million on research. This covers research on the inter-action between trees and the environment, including work on tree species, silviculture, site studies, physiology, pathology, entomology and wild life and conservation. There has been a shift of emphasis in recent years towards environmental research including wild life conservation, recreation, landscape and water studies.
The programmes of restructuring forests, as defined areas are clear felled to allow replanting of varied species and to achieve varied age groups in total forest areas, are now practices in all European forests and in Scandinavia. This is an application in forestry where ride and stream ecotones, which surround mosaics of different age classes of spruce forests, for example, can be managed over a long time scale in order to enhance biodiversity. Many natural ecosystems do not have high biodiversity and, more importantly, their most valued components often rely on rather low levels of diversity (i.e. red squirrels in mature coniferous forests). Therefore, management should only seek to increase biodiversity within limits appropriate to the inherent nutrition, soils and climate and in terms of the prevailing seral stages of the forest. Conifer forest in the uplands will never be able to sustain the variety of species and ecological niches available in lowland broadleaf forest, and attempts to induce such variety are undesirable and almost certain to end in failure.
Guidelines to forest owners are published by all European and Scandinavian Governments and Departments of Forestry employ specialists in the fields of conservation of big-diversity of species and of wildlife, and carry out research and provide grants related to managed forests. At the same time as knowledge about endangered species has improved, additional large areas have been set aside as nature reserves, and new instructions and recommendations for forestry practices have been launched in every Country to ensure the preservation of biodiversity in forest ecosystems.
In Finland, a major source of the pulp for packaging for McDonald's, 2,651,000 hectares of land has been set aside for nature conservation.
Management of biodiversity is not only a well developed science but a steadily developing practice, well accepted by foresters and forest owners.
xiii Forests and woodlands are diverse habitats for wildlife.
The forest edge provides an unique habitat where creatures of the woodland interact with those of the green fields, open moorland and wetland. In the heart of the forest the trees and the open spaces have their own characteristic flora and fauna. While ancient and long established woodlands represent the most valuable and irreplaceable habitats for wildlife and are therefore set aside in National forests, forest parks, biological and nature reserves in increasing forest areas by all Countries, they are not alone in providing a home and a source of nutrition for wildlife.
Recently planted forests, are immature ecosystems and have lower levels of biodiversity. They can, however, add significantly to the biodiversity of a previously unwooded environment; for example, where they are planted on arable land of low wildlife value, or on derelict land. It is just such a landscape on which the greater majority of new planting takes place.
xv The Environmental Committee of the House of Commons, 1st
Report on Forestry and the Environment, Vol 1. states: "From the evidence submitted to us, we believe that the extension of forestry represents an important opportunity for enhancing the quality of the English landscape and wildlife habitat,....."
The Forestry Commission's Statutory responsibility as set out in the Forestry Act 1967 ammended by the Wildlife and Countryside (ammendment) Act 1985, includes a requirement to achieve the "conservation and enhancement of natural beauty and the conservation of flora fauna and geographical, or physiographical features of special interest. n This and similar laws in other Countries concerned in this case have changed the management systems of forests permanently towards support of biodiversity as an objective in balance with products of the forest.
vii Finland records the stock of Lynx, bears, wolves, and wolverines, and these show that in 1990 all these species existed in greater numbers than in 1977. The numbers of Lynx recorded is eight times larger. Records of black grouse, hazel hens, woodgrouse, and willow grouse since 1977 have shown variable figures, peaking in 1989. The beaver population has doubled since 1977. In all but coastal areas of Finland the elk population has grown. This from the forest areas supplying the largest volume of timber for packaging used by McDonalds' in Europe. Assertions that wildlife cannot survive or is threatened on any substantial scale by managed forests and plantations are not sustainable.
2.5. Soil erosion.
Forests and woodlands are important for soil protection. Forests soils are generally robust. The two main considerations are the effect of harvesting and the impact of new planting. The routine removal of trees from a wood (thinning), which is directly relevant to pulp production, and small scale failings normally cause no difficulty, but care needs to be taken to avoid damage arising from larger clear fillings. The use of branches and tops of trees as a mat on vehicle routes is standard practice to avoid compaction and rutting on softer, wetter soils. In Canada and in Scandinavia, limiting major extraction operations to either very dry or hard frozen periods of the year, avoids the kind of damage which will affect the success of subsequent replanting.
xvi The felling and replanting of trees provides an opportunity to improve drainage in the forest where it was previously inadequate. Guidance on the planning of these operations is given in the Forestry Commission's "Forest and Water Guidelines". In any cultivation or drainage operation, whether for agriculture or forestry, there is always a short-term risk of accelerated soil erosion.
In the uplands of most countries, historical deforestation followed by extensive grazing by animals with little in the way of input, has gradually led to soil degradation. Peat formation often following the development of a thin ironpan layer, impeding drainage, is the ultimate result. These processes are thought to be slowly reversed under forest conditions.
Generally, trees are planted on sloping land to prevent soil erosion, as can be seen on our motorways. It is therefore, equally important that felling of trees on watersheds and areas close to habitation is carefully controlled, and this is certainly the case in all the Countries and for all the forest resources which supply timber for pulp to make packaging in Europe.
2.6. Water pollution.
xvi The effect of pesticides and of fertiliser. on water courses has already been considered in this evidence. The presence of conifers close to rivers has also been the subject of research by the National Rivers Authority and The Forestry Commission together and by such organisation as the Salmon Fishery organisations of the U.S., and Canada. The concern is acidification. In practice, the loss of fish stock can occur if acidity reaches a level at which they have to move away from their former habitat. The cause of this can be any disturbance of the former balance of soils particularly a. a result of acid rain.
The fact that trees catch the fall out of acid rain and can transfer a form of alumina acidity to the soil and from there to the water courses, has led to a belief that forests are the cause of this environmental distress. The research, however, now shows that this will only be so if the acidity which occurred naturally or had increased before tree planting as a more direct result of acid rain, was high enough that the extra flow of acids to the water tipped it over the danger level.
In consequence, the guidelines on planting, the basis of grants in the U.K. for private plantations and the rules applied by the Forestry Commission, now deal with this problem by prescribing the minimum distance from waterways where trees may be planted, wherever tests show that there is a danger of acidification above safe levels.
This knowledge and the practice of protection of fish populations in rivers is now widespread throughout the forestry world. There is no need for trees to affect the stocks of fish. In fact, the anglers and angling societies are among the very best protectors of forests acting as fire guards, and in vigilance for vandalism to the mutual benefit of people who fish and foresters everywhere.
2.7. Public access and recreation.
xiii This is a subject of environmental concern but it is not specifically referred to in evidence submitted in this case. It is sufficient to say that it is at the heart of all forest management programmes of the forests owned by the public and the figures of forest cover and public ownership already cited here indicate that Governments have direct control over very large areas of forest.
xvii The Forestry Commission is one of Britain's biggest providers of tourist and recreation facilities. It has a policy of open access to its woodlands, and caters for some 50,000,000 visits to its woodlands in England alone each year. All this is in balance to the productivity of the managed forests, many of which provide ample space for activities on foot, on bicycles, for motor sport, and for other activities which are not readily provided on privately owned farm land.
In Scandinavia, where so much forest is privately owned, the circumstances are different. The population is small and access to forests, local to townships, is adequate. There are over 300,000 private owners of forests in Finland and the average size of these woodlands is 33 hectares. That in itself represents access to a substantial number of the population, among woodlands owners, their employees and friends. All European Countries have similar policies about access and public appreciation of the environmental benefit of woodland. is well established.
2.8 Carbon fixing.
xiii One of the principle benefits of forest cover is the capacity of wood to store carbon. The fixing of C02 by trees followed by the sequestration of carbon in wood provides the only easily controllable land sink for carbon. The global potential of this sink becomes clear when one considers that the world's 4 billion hectares of forests store about the same amount of carbon as is currently in the atmosphere.
If we take the U.K. alone with a forest cover of 2.3 million hectares: Much of the growing stock is young and is absorbing carbon at the rate of about 3 million tonnes a year, equivalent to about 2% of the U.K. C02 emissions. This takes no account of the release of C02 when timber is extracted, processed and finally consumed. This depends primarily what happens to the timber after it leaves the forest. Timber converted to solid wood products, e.g. for construction, locks up the carbon until, for any reason the wood is destroyed by fire or biodegradation. Wood converted to pulp and paper products holds the carbon until this too is burnt or degraded. This is obviously a shorter retention of carbon, but even when it is returned to atmosphere, it is only putting back what was sequestrated in the tree growth process. This is unlike all carbon products, coal and oil, for example, which when consumed, create new C02. It is also unlike all their derivatives, such as chemicals, and all plastic products including all plastic packaging, which also create new carbon dioxide, both in the vast energy consumption in their production and their ultimate degradation. In terms of mono-cultures, and plantations forests, it is a well known fact that young trees absorb C02 and give out oxygen in the process of photo-synthesis and growth, and old, mature trees are at best neutral in this process. Plantation forests are essential to the increase of this environmentally beneficial programme of carbon fixing. The market for paper and packaging encourages the extension of forests and forest management for the benefit of us all in carbon fixing. 2.9. Clear cutting.
xviii Destruction or depletion of forests is most commonly associated by the media and by environmental activists with clear cutting of large areas of forest, both virgin forest or plantation forest. The implication that the use of wood based packaging is destroying forests would therefore be seen to relate to clear cutting.
Clearcut harvesting of food and tree crops is as ancient as agriculture and forestry respectively, but there are few aspects of modern forestry which raise more concern amongst the public.
The way forestry has been practiced in North America and in Europe has been changing continually over the past half century. Britain is no exception since the depletion of forests down to 5% of our land area in 1918, very largely by conversion of forest land to agriculture was followed after two world wars by programmes of plantation over large areas of uplands and degraded land. This has, since the mid 1970's given way to a far more environmental approach to the design of forests and the multi-purpose requirements of them. Methods of logging, by high lines to lift the logs over difficult terrain, winter logging over frozen ground, and confining work of extraction to tracks laid with branches, and in dry working conditions can avoid compaction damage to the ground.
xiv In the period following clearcutting, soil fertility is often increased due to reduced uptake of nutrients by plants, and the increased release of nutrients from decomposing slash (branches) and the forest floor. Where this flush of nutrients is excessive, it may lead to loss of some nutrients by soil leaching, and can sometimes lead to loss of nitrogen.
The flush of nutrient availability can make the growth of herbs and shrubs very prolific, which can pose problems for natural regeneration of trees, and for the survival and early growth of planted seedlings. However, it also benefits the early growth of trees, which can grow faster in the first 10-20 years than would be expected based on long term site quality considerations.
This nutrient flush is not "unnatural". It follows any natural disturbance that kills or removes the trees (e.g. fire, insects, wind). The hurricane which hit South and East England in 1987, destroyed 15 million trees, and areas such as Rendlesham forest in Suffolk, which were totally flattened, went through just such a nutrient flush, and required careful management to achieve natural and plantation regrowth.
Forestry practice everywhere avoids clear cutting on steep unstable slopes. Sufficient live trees are left to ensure the maintenance of sufficient live root biomass to maintain slope stability. This also helps to achieve age group diversity around areas of clear cut.
The past practice of burning the remaining branches of trees on sites with low nitrogen soil conditions brought outcries of air pollution, just as stubble burning has done in farming practice. For these reasons, this practice has been discontinued in almost all forest areas, and certainly so in all the European sources of timber for packaging which are relevant to this case.
Now that the practice of felling smaller areas or "coups has been adopted in virtually all Northern Hemisphere forest regions, with a probable maximum cut of 40 hectares in the USA and Canada and as low as 10 hectares maximum in vii Finland, the visual effect of clear cutting is greatly alterred. In practice it has been found that leaving strands or wind break" of earlier plantations close to xx clear cut area, both protects the new plantations and provide seed sources for natural regeneration and planting programmes. So, in the last two decades this practice has been readily adopted by foresters throughout these regions. The Forestry Commission "Forestry Landscape Guidelines are a consequence of a well recognised change in forestry practice. All foresters are now taught forest design, and the presentation of sketches of the appearance of forest landscape in 5 or 10 or 20 years time are commonplace requirements before grants are approved, or Forest Enterprise planting begins.
This approach to selective clear cutting and mixed age and mixed species reforestation is being paid for by the present day sales value of the forest resources planted, perhaps less discriminatingly, by earlier generations of foresters who planted trees under very different National Policy demands.
It is quite erroneous to contend that clear cutting of any area whatever of existing forest is by definition - destroying forests, or offending environmental principles. What is vital is that companies supplying users of raw materials in specific forms such as McDonald's packaging should be practising good forestry management.
The Governments of the Countries concerned in this case have both sound forestry laws and the capacity and record of monitoring these practices.
xxi It is contended that using trees destroys forests, and that recycling of paper will reduce the alleged depletion of forest resources.
Using wood interrupts the natural carbon cycle by which trees grow and decay. Foresters try to even out income from the timber produced by forests. Because this involves annual cycles of felling and replanting, commercial forests might be said to have an indefinite future. The profit from felling pays for replanting as well as supporting a range of other forest activities, which, although desired by society, attract no revenue.
Recycling paper threatens to reduce forest revenue in the short term (10 years). Recycling both of paper and other wood products impacts particularly on small roundwood products. The marginal cost of producing these small diameter products is matched already by lower market prices. A reduction in this market due to extensive recycling could lower the overall return on forestry.
From the forest revenues come the resource for protecting conservation areas, providing foot paths and all the myriad of other benefits society wants to enjoy. When the major, if not only, source of revenue from a forest is its timber products, then changes in the market for these products instantly impact on ability to provide for the other benefits without charge.
The growing environmental concern which is expressed by such evidence as is submitted in this case by the Women's Environmental Network may result in essential activities such as forest improvement being reduced.
There is nothing new about recycling. A decade and more about 55% of our paper useage, including newsprint and packaging, contained recycled material, and as much as 35% of the total paper tonnage in circulation was recovered. It is only in recent times that the demand for recycled paper has grown under environmental, media and political pressure.
The reality of extensive recycling has dawned on both the industry and politicians. The cost of collection brings a diminishing return, the energy cost of conversion is itself a producer of carbon dioxide pollution, the total cost of recycled paper is greater than for the same product with virgin fibre. There is a limit to how much recycled fibre can be used without unacceptable loss of paper strength and quality. There are now questions of hygiene and recycled packaging.
The British forest resource, created in this century now supports a significant industry including paper making. Every effort is being made to sustain this industry and at the same time create forests which more than 50 million people each year will find enjoyable to visit.
It is my belief that the plantation forests, which supply the needs of Companies like McDonalds' for packaging and paper are being progressively managed to meet all these environmental standards economically, on the strength of markets for all the timber they yield in commercial and environmental balance. The foresters and industry are committed to high standards for the benefit of everyone, whether customers of McDonalds' or not.
i. Forest Industry Committee of Great Britain: UK Strategy for
sustainable development. 1993
ii. Forest Industry Committee of Great Britain: The Forest Industry
year book 1992 - 1993. (FICGB).
FAO/ECE Forest Resources Assessment, Yearbook.
iii. National Hardwood Lumber Association of USA: Forest Resource
iv Forests Forever, A Guide to Wood and Forests, 1990
v. The Ministry of Supply and Services Canada: The State of
Canada's Forests. 1992
vi Swedish Finnish Timber Council: From Forests to saw. 1991.
vii Finnish Forestry Association: The Finnish Approach. December
viii John Campbell, OBE: European Forestry, a global perspective.
University of California lecture: 1989.
ix Business Enterprise Division, The Forest Enterprise, Forestry
x Forestry Commission: Ecology and Management of Forest Insects
(1989). Diseases of Forest and Ornamental Trees (Phillips &
xi The Pesticide Trust. Report for 1992.
xii Forestry Enterprise report to the Pesticide Trust dated
9th March, 1993 on the total volumes of pesticide used
on forest land at 30,000 kg. on 30,000 hectares compared to
22 million kg. estimated by the Trust applied on the
whole of the U.K. land area, very largely for agriculture.
Svensk Skog: Stockholm: 12/1/94.
xiii The British Government's memorandum of evidence to the
Environment Select Committee: Enquiry into Forestry and the
xiv Forestry Authority: Biodiversity. Britain's Forests.
Dr. Philip Ratcliffe. 1993.
xv The Environment Committee of the House of Commons 1st Report:
Forestry and the Environment. Vol. 1. March 1993.
xvi Forestry Commission: Forests and Water Guidelines.
xvii Forestry Commission: Forest Recreation Guidelines.
xviii Department of Forest Sciences. Faculty of Forestry, University
of British Columbia. J.P Kimmins 1993.
xx Sweden: Ministry of Agriculture. Forestry Act 1993.
xxi Forestry Authority: Paper for the Iggesund Environmental
Seminar. Donald Thompson. Oct. 1993.
xxii Forestry Commission: Landscape Design Guidelines.
January 13, 1994|
Appeared in court|
exhibits: Not applicable/ available
transcripts of court appearances: