There are a lot of things that people can do to help conserve forests including recycling, making the decision to go paperless, consuming locally or regionally certified wood or food products, and simply speaking out. Some people think that individual efforts have little effect on conserving forests, but little actions, when combined together, can have a substantial impact on the positive effects of preserving forests, conserving trees, and speaking out about mass deforestation.
Recycling is a problem for some people, but it makes a difference when it comes to conserving forests. A good example is the Sunday newspaper, which requires that 500,000 trees be cut down every week. If just one in ten people across the U.S. would recycle newspapers, 25 million trees could be saved each year. Enough paper waste is thrown out every year to produce heat in 50 million homes for 20 years.
The decision to go paperless could go a long way towards conserving forests and in stopping clear cutting and mass deforestation around the world. Some people already pay bills and get electronic statements online, which is a good step in the right direction. More can be done by putting an end to junk mail: catalogs, credit card offers, and marketing mail. Rather than trying to contact each individual company or organization to get the mailings stopped, consumers can search online for a service that can remove an address from all mailing lists that are used by these companies. Other computer paper-eliminating tips include using the "save as PDF" or "print to PDF" function and saving documents as PDF files rather than printing them out, using a digitized personal signature on an e-mail rather than a sending a paper fax, and sending video or digital greeting cards.
If conserving forests is to be a priority, local, certified wood products should be considered when building or remodeling. Purchasing and consuming locally grown products requires less energy to transport and may reduce or eliminate the trade and import of exotic woods that are only found in certain forests, perhaps on the other side of the planet. Consumers should also consider buying from companies that manage forests according to specific guidelines, like those set out by the Forest Stewardship Council, that plant, manage and harvest trees in ways that help in conserving forests, preventing deforestation, and ultimately in saving more trees.
Another important method of saving trees and conserving forests is by making an effort and taking the time to speak out against habitat destruction, deforestation, the displacement or slaughter of species indigenous to the forest, and the clear-cutting tactics of some governments and companies around the world. Speaking out against those who are perpetuating these logging and forestry methods that negatively impact all people may just be enough. One voice might be all it takes to get through and begin to make a change for the better.