President Obama has just declared October 19-25, National Forests Products Week as a way to recognize and thank everyone involved with the forest industry across the country. This is especially relevant in California where millions acres of the state are covered by forestland.
From the land owners, growers, and loggers, to the mill workers, engineers, and manufactures; there are many people involved in getting wood products to our communities. Even the first settlers that came to America used wood from the forests to begin building their lives in the new world. They constructed homes, schools,, boats, tools, and more using forest products. Now, hundreds of years later, wood is still one of the most sustainable, superior material and continues to provide a lot of society’s staple goods. Forests and trees provide us with literally, thousands of products – some you may use or see every day. Here is a graphic of a few common daily wood products:
Harvesting and using trees to make products, like the ones above, is a huge part of our economy, but also plays a role in combating climate change. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, release oxygen into the atmosphere and capture the carbon, which is stored in wood products for the life of the product. Wood is actually about 50 percent carbon by dry weight. Most mills are zero waste too, since woody biomass and other by-products of the wood are commonly used by the forest industry as a clean source of renewable bioenergy, further reducing emissions.
More and more policies that recognize the benefits of using wood as a green building product and encourage greater use of both wood in buildings and renewable biomass to meet society’s broader energy needs. Just this month, the USDA help announce, “ As part of the Obama administration’s commitment to mitigate climate change, USDA, in partnership with the Softwood Lumber Board and the Binational Softwood Lumber Council, is announcing the U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize Competition. This competitive prize, open to teams of architects, engineers, and developers, will showcase the architectural and commercial viability of advanced wood products like Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) in tall buildings.
The announcement pointed to the benefits of using wood as what encouraged the call for the competition, “Wood is a readily available and renewable building material that creates jobs and stimulates the economy. It can be used in urban or rural settings to build energy-efficient houses, buildings, and other needed infrastructure. It is successfully being used around the world and can help mitigate climate change. “ (See full post here)
In California, strong environmental standards combined with wise sustainable forestry practices ensures forests will continue to provide clean air and water; beautiful places to play and relax; homes for birds, fish and other wildlife; carbon storage; energy savings and numerous products for people. During National Forests Products Week, let’s remember the importance of our forestlands and celebrate all the wonderful things they provide and the forestry professionals that work hard to make it happen.