Trees are essential to life. As they grow, trees serve as oxygen factories, converting carbon dioxide into a precious resource. They provide shade from the sun and cool the atmosphere as they recycle water by absorbing it from the soil and releasing it to the air. Our forests also are important to wildlife as a source of food and shelter. People depend on trees, too, for construction lumber, furniture, cosmetics, recreational equipment, fuel, medical products, and paper.
What's so great about trees is that they are a renewable resource. But the word "renewable" doesn't mean we should use our forests carelessly. After all, if we don't manage and protect our woodlands today, they may not be as useful to meet the needs of tomorrow.
For many years, The Glatfelter Pulp Wood Company, a subsidiary of the P. H. Glatfelter Company, has been in the business of harvesting trees to make paper and managing woodlands for the future. In 1917, we were one of the first paper companies to hire a professional forester. Over the years, our foresters have created forest management plans that generate wood fiber for papermaking, maintain wildlife habitat, produce greater biological diversity, and provide public recreational opportunities.
In 1995, the Company established its Sustainable Forestry Initiative, or SFI, which implemented the initiative developed by the American Forest & Paper Association in 1994. This initiative establishes policies and guidelines designed to ensure the future of today's abundant forests. While the SFI is new to the industry, the Pulp Wood Company has practiced many of the program's techniques for decades.
In recent years, The Glatfelter Pulp Wood Company has replanted trees on land that was not always forested. Acres of unused agricultural land now serve as "tree farms". These new crops prevent soil erosion and make productive use of land that would take many years to develop into a forest.
Timber volume in the United States is greater today than it was 70 years ago, and continues to increase every year. That's due to the positive stewardship efforts of forestry companies and private individuals.
We will continue to promote the use of sound forestry techniques, taking into account all of the special characteristics of a wooded area. This includes joint efforts with organizations like The Nature Conservancy to protect rare plant life and with state governmental agencies to create diverse wildlife habitat.
We are proud of our success in providing wood fiber for papermaking while caring for one of our most valuable natural resources-our forests. All of us should appreciate the beauty and importance of woodlands and do our part to help protect them for future generations to use and enjoy.