The connections between forest products operations and water resources in the United States is considered and, where possible, quantified. Manufacture of wood, pulp, and paper products and the influences of forest management and forest products manufacture on water quality are discussed. Most fresh water in the US originates in forested areas. Responsible harvesting strategies, best management practices, and forest re-growth combine to minimize or eliminate changes in water availability and degradation of water quality due to harvesting. Relative to alternative land uses and large-scale disturbance events, forested areas produce the highest quality of fresh water. Water inputs for the manufacture of forest products total about 5.8 billion m3 per year, an amount equal about 0.4% of the surface and groundwater yield from timberland. Approximately 88% of water used in manufacturing is treated and returned directly to surface waters, about 11% is converted to water vapor and released during the manufacturing process, and 1% is imparted to products or solid residuals. Extensive study and continued monitoring of treated effluents suggest few or no concerns regarding the compatibility of current effluents with healthy aquatic systems.
Water resource use and management by the United States forest products industry
P. S. Wiegand, C. A. Flinders, G. G. Ice, B. J. Malmberg, R. P. Fisher; Water resource use and management by the United States forest products industry. Water Sci Technol 1 July 2009; 60 (3): 751–760. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wst.2009.439
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