EFCT: Environmental Footprint Comparison Tool.  A tool for understanding environmental decisions related to the forest products industry.  Non-Wood Fiber. headerlink
Effects of non-wood fiber use on wood use

Agricultural practices impose a burden on the land and are accompanied by impacts on habitat quality. Though it is possible for dedicated agricultural crops to offer greater fiber yields and require less land than wood fiber, there are additional effects that need to be considered as potential trade-offs. Denison, a principal in the Paper Task Force appraisal of environmentally preferable paper, notes:

"Many are concerned with the implications of intensive forestry on habitat value and biodiversity. Indeed, many methods for intensive silviculture compromise forests' ecological values. It must be realized, though, that annual crops require the same considerations. It is hard to imagine that the biological value of even the most intensive of tree plantations would ever be lower than that of an agricultural field of comparable size. Indeed, I would argue that, acre for acre, from an ecological perspective, habitat value, biodiversity and water quality protection and soil carbon storage would all be higher for silviculture relative to agriculture because harvesting, replanting, fertilization and pesticide application only occur on a multi-year basis rather than annually."

The diversity of plant and animal life found within a managed forest does depend on the application of sound management practices tailored to achieving biodiversity and forest productivity. Fiber sourced from forestlands managed within the framework of sustainable forest management certification programs (such as those under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Canadian Standards Association, or Forest Stewardship Council) has been managed through the application of practices oriented toward protection of biodiversity.

Follow the links to right for more information.

More information:

Land area requirements

Land disturbance

Habitat effects