According to WWF, global demand for timber could triple by 2050. Demand for solid wood and paper products in emerging markets as population and economic growth takes place as well as increasing the use of wood as a feedstock for bioenergy. And, here is the shocking news - we don’t have all this timber. Lading countries that supply timber are either at the point of expiry or running at a deficit as forest resources are used without adequate provision for sustainable timber supply: Brazil has only 16 years of timber forests remaining, South Africa 7 years, Colombia 12 years, Mexico 9 years, Nigeria 11 years, Thailand 9 years and Pakistan 10 years.
Primary forest is being depleted at an alarming rate in many forested countries, the most extreme examples being Nigeria, losing 99% of primary forest, and Vietnam 80% since 1990 – a loss of almost 2 million hectares in these two countries alone. This has a huge impact on the biodiversity and other important forest ecosystem functions.
Deforestation is driven by a range of factors, particularly increased use of land for agriculture — the global population will surpass 9 billion by 2050, and will require expanding food supplies by 70 percent. At the same time, climate change will reduce crop yields in many countries, which means food, fiber and fuel will compete intensively for limited land and water resources in the future, putting increased pressure on forests.
This is why, according to WWF, businesses must invest in sustainable forest management if they are to guarantee access to timber that they rely on in the near future.