More than 30 percent of the earth's land surface - almost 10 billion acres - is covered by forests*. Almost two-thirds are considered working forests, the productive forestlands that are actively managed to generate multiple resources, including wood fiber, recreation, wildlife, aesthetics, clean water and other forest ecosystem values. When managed responsibly, working forests can produce a continuous and sustainable supply of these important resources. Each year, less than 1% of the wood from these forests is harvested. The remaining one-third of forested area is considered primary forest, which means human activities in these forests have been limited or are entirely absent.
Globally, many forests have been converted to non-forest uses, such as agricultural production and urban development, to meet increasing demands of growing populations. Although deforestation has slowed and even reversed in many economically developed countries, forest conversion for food production, fuel, and development pressures continues to drive deforestation in some developing countries.
A significant challenge for the forestry profession is to communicate and demonstrate the simple idea that one of the best ways of saving a forest is to use it.