chapter  1
5 Pages

Why Concern Ourselves with Forest Policy?

Forests serve the American people in many ways and have the potential to serve more people in better and more generous ways. Everyone uses wood in some form-in such simple household uses as facial tissue, toilet paper, newspapers, and wrapping materials; as paper in various forms in offices and stores; as furniture; and as an essential component of all new construction for homes, offices, factories, and stores. Indeed, it is difficult to conceive of anyone who does not use wood in some form. He would have to live in a cave, use stone furniture, burn coal picked off the surface of the land, and have found some nonwood substitute for toilet paper. Much of the water used in homes, in factories, for miscellaneous urban purposes, and for irrigation flows from watersheds that are largely or wholly forested. At least half, and perhaps considerably more, of the total population engages in outdoor recreation on both public and privately owned land, much of which is forested, and forests, particularly their edges where they meet open land, are the home for a rich and varied wildlife. In all these ways, and others that are less obvious or affect smaller numbers of people, forests of one kind or another affect all people-some, of course, more than others, and in different ways, but no one in the United States today is wholly independent of forests.