While many in the wood industry tout the environmental benefits of wood, a new study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also cites the economic benefits of using wood in green building construction.
Larry Selzer, president and chief executive officer of The Conservation Fund and vice chair of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative board of directors, says the study is good news for forests and forest communities.
“Working forests are an essential part of our nation’s critical infrastructure,” Selzer says. “They provide clean air, clean water, wood products and jobs for more than two million people. By taking this step in recognizing the importance of wood in green building and the role of forest certification in verifying sustainability, [Agriculture] Secretary Vilsack and the USDA are promoting a major investment in an essential part of our nation’s infrastructure.”
“This study confirms what many environmental scientists have been saying for years,” said Vilsack in a news release. “Wood should be a major component of American building and energy design. The use of wood provides substantial environmental benefits, provides incentives for private landowners to maintain forest land, and provides a critical source of jobs in rural America.”
The study says “sustainable forest management can produce stronger, healthier forests that serve as a ‘carbon sink’ to clean air of greenhouse gases and purify drinking water for wildlife and U.S. municipal water systems. Harvested trees can find value in wood products and systems for green building construction that continue to benefit the environment.”
View the full study.