National Biobased Products Day- Why Wood Is Part of the Climate Solution

March 8th is National Biobased Products Day and we are tallying the reasons why it’s good to #usewood ! The original biobased product, wood has the powerful attributes of renewability and carbon storage, which make it a superior, sustainable, and environmentally-friendly material. Wood products contain the least amount of embodied energy of any floor covering or common building material. That’s because most of the energy used to create wood comes from the sun, as trees harness solar energy to grow. Very little energy is expended in the manufacturing of wood products, which make up 47% of all industrial raw materials manufactured in the U.S. yet consume just 4% of the total energy needed to manufacture all industrial raw materials. The forest products industry is also the leading generator and user of renewable energy in the United States.

The Substitution Effect

When wood products are used in place of fossil-intensive products (like plastics, LVT, tile, carpet, laminate, concrete, and steel ) greenhouse gas emissions are further reduced through the substitution effect. And no other building material provides as many ecological and community services as wood does while it is growing. As forests grow timber, they simultaneously provide wildlife habitat, air and water quality enhancement, recreational opportunity, rural jobs, green space, and carbon sequestration. Sustainably managed forests can provide all of these services in perpetuity while also producing timber the world needs. What’s more, when we manage forests carefully, we can increase their ability to regenerate and their ability to store carbon. Sound forest management also diversifies forest age and class structure, enhancing wildlife habitat and making the forest more resilient in the face of pestilence, wildlife, and climate change.

When you choose wood products from well-managed forests, you help to keep those forests as forests. Privately owned working forests provide 90% of the wood harvested in the United States. When the families who own these forests have strong markets for their wood, they are more likely to keep their forests as forests. Unlike far-flung parts of the world where there may be no environmental oversight or rule of law, the U.S. is a global leader in sustainable forest management and has a strong regulatory framework to deliver it.

Wood Products Are Part of the Climate Solution

The International Panel on Climate Change found that sustainably managed forests yielded the highest carbon storage benefit due to their ability to store carbon in harvested wood products long-term, and because management enhances a forest’s ability to store carbon as well. Wood products, when sourced from well-managed forests, are a safe, sustainable, biobased, environmentally friendly solution that you can feel good about using.