How forests help you out every day

© Credit: Lamar Dewberry | New Day on a New Forest, Alabama

Whether the forest nearest to you is in your own backyard or in the next state, you rely on forests in ways that most people never think about. Forests clean the air we breathe and filter the water we drink. They produce products we need and provide opportunities to improve our quality of life through recreation, and by their natural beauty.

No matter how often you visit forests, they are busily working for all of us, all the time. It’s important to take care of forests so they can be vital and healthy, and continue to provide for us and for future generations.

Natural air purifiers
Trees purify the air we breathe by taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and releasing oxygen back into it, regulating air quality. One tree can absorb up to 10 pounds of air pollutants each year. At the same time, it can release 260 pounds of oxygen, or about half the oxygen one person needs for a year.

Forest in a raindrop, Florida	© Mike Branch | Forest in a raindrop, Florida

DIY water filters
Over half of the drinking water in the U.S. and nearly two thirds of the drinking water in Canada comes from forests. A single mature tree can absorb and clean about 36% of the rain that falls on it, fueling the cycle of growth, and slowing runoff through filtration in the canopy, root system, and leaf litter.

Forest filtration can save the economy billions of dollars over the cost of building artificial water filtration systems. New York City, for example, preserved an upstate forest watershed at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion dollars instead of building a new filtration plant for $8-10 billion dollars.

Mind & body health boosters
Healthy forests give us an opportunity to re-connect with nature, through hiking, camping, biking, boating, bird watching and more. Many studies have even linked interacting with forests to improved mental and physical health.

Producers of everyday products
Most of us are aware of the obvious products supplied by wood from forests —lumber for our homes and furniture, paper for our books and magazines, packaging for our food and toiletries and tissue paper for the bathroom. But did you know that all of the following things contain forest materials, too? See how many you know.

  • Asphalt
  • Paint
  • Turpentine
  • Toothbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Cosmetics
  • Detergent
  • Chewing gum
  • Rayon fabric
  • Piano keys
  • Medicines
Forests provide us with a tremendous variety of benefits and services, so it’s important to remember that demand for such products helps ensure the future of forests. As long as forests are managed responsibly, they will continue to provide their many benefits today and for generations to come.
Surveying for birds in central British Columbia© Christopher Di Corrado | Surveying for birds in central British Columbia

How the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) is good for you, and good for forests
SFI works to ensure the health and future of our forests, because forests are a part of our everyday lives. SFI brings landowners and brand owners from across the supply chain together with communities, government agencies, conservation groups and other key interests to advance understanding and ensure a better future for all of us. SFI develops and oversees standards for forest management and certifies entire forests as well as fibers and products that come from forests.

To have their land certified to SFI Standards, forest owners and managers must protect biodiversity, improve wildlife habitat and use best management practices to ensure water quality. They must also hire trained harvesting professionals and promote programs to engage communities, support conservation research and educate landowners.

To find out more about forests, and how SFI helps forests help us, visit

How forests help you out every day
Whether the forest nearest to you is in your own backyard or in the next state, you rely on forests in ways that most people never think about.

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