Unfortunately for tigers, the trees that grow well in their habitat are the ones that are used for “throw away items.” These items include the wood that frames concrete pours that is thrown away after, toilet paper, facial tissue, and paper towels. Tigers need large habitats to roam and hunt. Once roads are cleared through their habitats, it starts to fragment and half the tiger’s area. The traffic and people can make it so the tiger has to move away or is unable to cross to their previous range. Fragmenting habitat can also drive prey away. Some normal diet items for tigers are deer and pigs. Without natural prey, the tigers will look into other options- such as livestock in villages. The roads also allow easy access for poachers. Once they have trapped or killed a tiger and loaded it in a truck, it is much harder to track and find the poachers during their getaway.
That doesn’t mean that all hope is lost! There are some very simple things you can do to help. One major solution is to only buy tree products that have the FSC label. FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council. The FSC’s mission is to promote environmentally sound, socially beneficial and economically prosperous management of the world’s forests. Their vision is that they can meet our current needs for forest products without compromising the health of the world’s forests for future generations. They have 10 principles set up to help achieve their mission and vision. These include complying with laws, indigenous peoples’ rights, community relations, environmental impact, management plans, maintenance of high conservation forest, and plantation management. Becoming certified by the FSC has its advantages! Besides the environmental protection, there are many major companies that have a set preference for FSC certified products- this is truly a win-win!
To help support companies and products that are FSC certified all you have to do is look for the label (see below). While at the store, turn the toilet paper package over and look on the back. If you see it, you picked the right product! Simple as that. You can take it further if you like. Look to the company level. Home Depot and many other companies are FSC certified. Other companies like Target and Walmart carry many FSC products. You can look online for the lists or just keep your eye out for the label while shopping. Once you learn to spot the label, you will see it all around you. Sometimes I even see it on receipts and smile :) If you want to go further, you can write to companies and tell them that you would support them if they became certified. When enough people choose the certified products over non-certified, it puts pressure on manufacturers to make the right choices on their sourcing. Making these small responsible consumer decisions can really add up to major conservation! The tigers and The Prusten Project thank you for your dedication to conservation!