Today we clear forests without any consideration for the biodiversity we are destroying or the carbon increase in the atmosphere. Profits and the need for more land for agriculture due to the ever-increasing population and the desire for a Western diet, are the only things that seem to matter. Nearly 50% of land on Earth is now designated as farmland to feed people and livestock, and that number will continue to rise, and the clearing of forests to accommodate that growth is inevitable. Continuing with this level of deforestation ensures that we will eventually suffer the same fate as the indigenous people of Easter Island who consumed their forests until the very last tree was gone.
Twenty nine million, eight hundred thousand trees (29,800,000) are cut down every day in the world. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reported back in 2005 (the figures will be much higher today) that the Earth's total forest area continues to decrease at about:
- 35,714 hectares (89,000 acres) per day, or
- 1,488 hectares (3,720 acres) an hour, or
- 25 hectares (62 acres) a minute, or
- 0.4 hectares (1 acre) every second - an American Football field measures 1.32 acres.
The actual figure might also be higher because these figures were provided by each country, and may not include illegal logging.
If you consider that to maintain the same level of trees year on year, the number of trees to be planted would be one for each year the tree needs to grow before it is cut down. So for example a pine tree requires approximately 33 years to grow before it can be cut for lumber, so 33 saplings for each tree cut down would need to be successfully grown to term to maintain a constant pine tree population each year. Taking in to account natural threats such as pests, disease, and fire, it is more likely that something like 50 trees would need to be planted per tree cut down.
While there are some reforestation efforts today, they are woefully inadequate to offset the destructive deforestation activities around the world. As usual the decision whether or not to implement a reforestation project comes down to money, and land is normally allocated to the highest bidder who can turn the highest profit, and the well-being of the planet and our long term future are not even considered.
Today 60% of all wood consumed is for fuel & energy, 20% for construction & furniture, and 20% for pulp & paper.
The demand for wood from trees in Nutopia is significantly lower than it is today. Buildings do not have timber frames, the only significant demand for wood is for furniture and hardwood floors. A modest amount of firewood is used for campfires and fireplaces in homes, but no firewood is used for heating or energy. There is virtually no paper used in Nutopia because there are no receipts, forms, flyers, envelopes, brochures, and there is no packaging. The total demand for wood in Nutopia will be a small fraction of what it is today.
Sustainability is one of the Core Principles of Nutopia. The consumption of wood from trees is matched with the replanting of trees so there is no net loss. Contrary to the way we operate today by consuming whatever we want regardless of the impact on the environment or the sustainability of the tree populations, in Nutopia the reverse is true. Each year the sustainable population of trees and the replenishment rate of new trees is carefully calculated, which determines the quantity of trees that will be cut down that year. The resource is then managed so that each Nutopian community gets its calculated allocation of trees. It doesn't matter whether the demand for wood increases because the level is never allowed to go over the calculated limit.
Population Stabilization is another Core Principle and as the population gradually reduces to a sustainable level, deforestation land will be restored to its former glory.
During the Restoration phase of Nutopia, a massive effort will be made to restore forests all over the world. As land is reclaimed from the roads, highways, parking lots and other general urban sprawl in towns and cities around the globe, millions of trees are planted there so that nature can once again be restored to its rightful place.