China's Rising Demand for Wood Threatens Other Countries' Forests[[Today's News Full Story ]]
China's astounding rate of economic growth is giving us a glimpse of how the rest of the World must have seen the United States' uncontrolled consumption of the world's resources in the twentieth century. Already China is the world's second largest importer of oil. If the Chinese has the same per capita consumption of oil the U.S. has, they would be using the entire world supply of oil.
Now their demand for wood is straining the resources of nearby countries.
China is now the second-biggest market behind the United States for timber, pulp and paper, but is expected to take over the top spot as its economy grows and demand for construction materials and furniture expands.
Increased Chinese demand could take a greater toll because the country is a major destination for wood that was illegally harvested or taken through unsustainable means such as by felling natural forests, according to WWF, formerly known as the World Wide Fund for Nature.
There are voices of concern in China for forest conservation, such as Zhu Chuquan, director of the World Wildlife Foundation's China forestry program who declares that; "China will soon be leading the global wood market. We hope that it will also lead the efforts to safeguard the world's forests."
According to Zhu; "The Chinese government has a high (degree of) commitment to the control of illegal logging. China also has a high-level commitment to doing responsible ... business with other countries."
All of which begs the question of limits. The acreage of forests to be harvested is limited. Demand can only grow for so long even under responsible policies.