California’s Timber Appetite Spells Trouble for World’s Forests

As California strives to protect its own forests, rising demand for wood in the state is fueling logging far afield, in Oregon, the southeastern U.S., Canada, and even Europe. According to a new report by the state Department of Forestry, California imports about 75 percent of its wood and paper products. The problem is that while Californians are making progress on forest conservation at home, they aren’t cutting down their consumption. Dale Bosworth, chief of the U.S. Forest Service, pointed to this as a nationwide problem in a speech last month. “We in the United States consume far more timber than we produce,” he said. “Our habits raise questions of both equity and sustainability.” The results of this imbalance can be seen most dramatically in Canada, where boreal forests are being clearcut at devastating rates, with much of the wood being shipped south of the border.