Contrary to popular belief, the South African plantation forest sector ensures protection against the deforestation of the country’s indigenous forests and the biodiverse habitats they offer. For plantation forestry to be ecologically sound requires a number of factors. Sustainable harvesting practices is one of them – this means that as one tree is felled in one part of the plantation, a new tree is planted in another area. This crop-like rotation ensures that the fibre supply is supported into the future. With only 9% of the total plantation area harvested each year, the carbon sequestration cycle is also kept in balance.
Paper’s role in the economy, the environment and society culminates in various activities that improve the sector’s sustainability performance. Environmental stewardship, responding to climate change as well as efficient use of energy, water and fibre are important elements of the industry’s sustainability story.