Curbing depopulation and caring for forests has both an environmental and a social value. Many of the funds allocated by the European Union for this purpose are not used, and their real impact is not measured. Meanwhile, the fires of summer 2021 in Cyprus and Spain confirmed a general trend across Mediterranean Europe.
Silverleen Alston recalls when nothing but brooding groves of sweetgums, oaks and cypress trees surrounded her family home in the small town of Garysburg, in North Carolina’s Northampton County.
But those trees are long gone, replaced by rows of fast-growing pines that help feed the hulking wood mill standing less than a half-mile (800 metres) from her back yard.
At the plant, owned by Maryland-based Enviva, trees are dried and pressed into small, uniform pellets. The facility is one of four the company runs in the state, and it is part of a booming industry in the country’s southeast, where a dozen companies churn out more than 10 million tonnes of wood pellets a year.