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Q: # of trees cutdown to provide finished goods for use in average American life ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: # of trees cutdown to provide finished goods for use in average American life
Category: Reference, Education and News
Asked by: vilma-ga
List Price: $4.50
Posted: 08 Jul 2006 19:28 PDT
Expires: 07 Aug 2006 19:28 PDT
Question ID: 744536
I am a first generation American.  From my mother's Hispanic culture I
have learned the love of nature and for planting trees - to give back
to the earth so to speak. I've noticed that my later-generation
nieces/nephews (their heritage/culture is now more predominatly
Americanized) don't have this love of nature trait.
My question is, approximately how many trees (in paper products,
furniture, etc) does an average American consume in their lifetime? 
This answer will let me know how many trees I will have to get each of
my nieces/nephews to plant next spring.

Clarification of Question by vilma-ga on 08 Jul 2006 19:40 PDT
ps: please include # of trees used for energy consumption as well, if
possible. (I have a feeling it will be a very large number of trees as
I have about 14 nieces/nephwews!)
Subject: Re: # of trees cutdown to provide finished goods for use in average American life
Answered By: pinkfreud-ga on 08 Jul 2006 20:19 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Providing your nieces and nephews with trees to plant is a lovely
thought! They will probably enjoy the activity and take pleasure in
watching the trees grow, and this may help them toward a deeper
appreciation of nature.

Many years ago, when I was a Girl Scout leader, I planned a
tree-planting event with a group of young girls. It was heartening to
see how enthusiastic the girls were about the project. Each girl's
initial concern, of course, was for "my" tree. As time passed, I
believe these girls developed a greater concern for "our" trees, and
(I hope) for "our" planet, as well. Some of the trees that we planted
by the roadside have grown to maturity in the twenty years since the
seedlings were first set in the ground. The girls are grown women now,
and, although I have lost touch with them, I like to think that they
may be young women who have a little bit more love and respect for
nature than they'd have had without their experience with those tiny

I have gathered some information for you about the consumption of
trees. By current estimates, planting about seven trees each year
would offset the typical American's use of paper and wood products.

"The average American uses seven trees a year in paper, wood, and
other products made from trees."

Ramola15: Recycling Fun Facts

"Trees cool the earth. Trees absorb heat-trapping CO-2 and produce
oxygen. Each tree will absorb over 500 pounds of CO-2 during its life.

Before men invented agriculture, 15 billion acres of the earth were
covered by forest. Today, barely 10 billion acres are forested. Almost
all of this loss happened in the last 30 years.

The average American uses seven trees a year worth of paper and packaging." 

USDA Forest Service: Carson National Forest

"If you are an average American, it?s going to take 465 trees to
provide you with a lifetime of paper. (Town of Islip, NY, 1988)

Enough paper is recycled each year to fill a boxcar train 7,600 miles
long. (American Forest & Paper Association)

45 million tons of paper were recovered in the United States in 1998 -
an average of 336 pounds per person. (American Forest & Paper

Americans throw away the equivalent of more than 30 million trees in
newsprint each year. (EarthWorks Group, The Recycler?s Handbook)

If every American family recycled their newspapers, approximately
500,000 trees would be saved weekly. (Taken from The Derrick/The
News-Herald Newspaper: Friday, October 30, 1998, Page 12.)"

Western Michigan University: Fun Recycling Facts

Google Web Search: "average OR typical american" trees lifetime

I hope this is helpful! If anything is unclear or incomplete, please
request clarification; I'll be glad to offer further assistance before
you rate my answer.

Best regards,

Clarification of Answer by pinkfreud-ga on 08 Jul 2006 20:48 PDT
I just saw your clarification request. Here is some additional information for you.

Regarding the use of trees for energy, the Forest Service estimates
that 62 million tons of roundwood from U.S. timberland is used for
fuel each year. Using a round number of 300 million residents of the
U.S., this would be approximately one-fifth of a ton for each person.
If we assume that a typical tree weighs about a ton, then you could
plant one tree per year for every five children.

Another thing you may want to consider (although it will take a lot of
tree seedlings) is the concept of becoming "carbon neutral." Trees
help our environment by taking in the carbon dioxide that our highly
industrial society is putting out. Planting trees is a way to help
offset the damage done by our pollutants:

"The average North American produces 22 tons of CO2 per year. One
tree, planted in the dry tropics of Central America, over 12 to 20
years, can convert 0.82 tons of this CO2 into carbon and oxygen . 'So
what?' you say. This means the average American would have to plant 27
trees per year, to become carbon neutral."

Tropical Sierra Foundation

Request for Answer Clarification by vilma-ga on 08 Jul 2006 20:58 PDT
(don't need a clarification)

Thank you!
Found a site that will plant 450 trees somewhere in the world per $45 donation.
They won't like their X-mas presents this year me thinks!

- Vilma

Clarification of Answer by pinkfreud-ga on 08 Jul 2006 21:08 PDT
I hope your nieces and nephews are mature enough to appreciate the
gift. If not, at least the world gets more trees, even if a few kids
don't see the point!
vilma-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: # of trees cutdown to provide finished goods for use in average American lif
From: myoarin-ga on 09 Jul 2006 05:27 PDT
Great answer!

Although there are terrible things happening to forests in some areas
of the world, I think it should be pointed out that American (yeah,
also Canadian) and European forests are now a stable, renewable
resource.  Indeed, in some areas of the States (New England, Northern
Central) and in Europe, forest areas have increased with the great
decline in farming.  In Sweden and Germany, the forest areas doubled
in the 20th century.

These reports I found interesting:

Vilma, I applaud, however, your effort to make your family more aware
and respectful of the use of forest products and the need to renew
their source.

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