Your house. Your furniture. Your office supplies. Your musical instrument. You use wood on a daily basis.
Trees and forests give us more than just paper and because it is a renewable resource, they will continue to support us for years to come. The fact is, regardless of where you live in Ontario or Canada, you are intricately attached to forests and forest management. We are all users of wood so let’s talk openly and honestly about how we use wood and cut trees.
Yes, we cut trees.
You may have a wood table in your house, maybe hardwood floors, or even have a special fondness for that wood bowl you received as a gift. You like wood because it tells a story with its grain, where no two pieces are alike, and it gives a sense of warmth. But did you know that wood and constituents of wood are found in everyday products beyond the traditional? Car parts, computer screens, food preservatives, cosmetics, and even clothing contain wood products. Wood is natural, biodegradable and renewable. That means that it has the potential to support us for years to come when well managed.
Today there is a great disconnect between us and the use of wood, especially in urban areas. We have an image that forestry means deforestation and in some parts of the world, this holds true. The unsustainable use of the forest is pressured by international wood demand combined with lack of local forest policies and regulations. Many seem to have taken that to mean that forestry everywhere follows this same prescription.
Ontario and Canada are world renowned for our sustainable forestry practices. We have strong legislation and forestry professionals working in our forests who follow a code of ethics. This means that we can be proud of the wood that comes from our province and our country. If you buy local wood, that means you are providing local jobs and supporting your local economy. We should be proud of our forest products and we should share this sense of pride with the public.
The Ontario Forestry Association is uniquely positioned to provide balanced and fair information about forestry in our province. We are not an industry organization nor do we speak for industry, but we understand forests and how we manage them. This is why we are launching a public conversation that we are calling Without Wood. Our launch event is set to take place during National Forest Week in Toronto and will draw a new audience to learn about forestry in Ontario.
Why do we want to change public opinion? There is great misconception about how we do forestry in Canada. The issues are often misrepresented by activist organizations leading the urban public to become misinformed about the ways in which we manage forests. We want to take people on a journey to discover forests, how they grow and change and how they benefit us as human communities. We want to talk to people as consumers of wood products, because no matter how you feel about cutting down trees, wood products are part of our daily lives. We welcome suggestions, comments, opinions and perhaps even a thought or two about what your life would be with or Without Wood.
Follow the Ontario Forestry Association by becoming a member or following us on one of our social media networks. Join us in the conversation about what forests and forestry mean to the people of Canada, and why they need to shift their opinions about forestry. For more information about the OFA and the Without Wood program, visit www.oforest.ca/withoutwood.