Forests and trees are two different things. Of course, the paper industry considers paper a renewable resource because they can plant new trees (and they do), but what they're missing is the value of decades-old forests.
The ecosystems provided by old forest is countless. The number of animals and plants that make their homes amidst the lush growth of forest are likely uncountable and planting new trees does not provide this.
Conserveatree points out that, “counting trees individually misses much of their value. “Saving forests” should be the resource focus. Trees are not a “crop” in the normal sense of the word. They are not planted on agricultural farmland. Before a tree farm is planted, forests have to fall. While some trees are grown on plantations for the paper industry, particularly in the southern United States, these replanted trees do not make a true forest. They are usually managed intensively, with heavy use of petrochemical inputs such as pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.”
Beyond ruining forests, our friends at Inhabitots have indicated some major problems the paper industry has placed in our lap:
Ultimately, regardless of the methods and drawbacks, using trees for paper is becoming highly unsustainable. As Environmental Paper Network points out, “global paper consumption is currently running at more than 350 million tons per year and fast approaching an unsustainable one million tons per day.”
Buy a bunch of cheap hand towels. Wash them. It isn't rocket science. :)