By Melissa Harden – American Forest Foundation
Breaking News from the U.S. Department of Agriculture: a new Forest Service Study confirms wood is truly a green building material, especially wood from American Tree Farm System® certified family forests.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “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.”
USDA has continued to work with the American Forest Foundation to implement a new strategy to promote wood, which gives Tree Farm a seat at the table to help develop policy in Washington, D.C. The research that the U.S. Forest Service is doing will give wood, especially certified wood, the necessary ammunition to be competitive in green building markets, opening up more markets for family forest owners. Read AFF’s press release on the announcement.
“Giving the green light to wood as the green building material should dramatically impact the market for sustainably grown wood in this country,” said AFF President Tom Martin. “Healthy forests need healthy markets, and the green building market is expected to grow to a $173 billion industry by 2015. Secretary Vilsack is a champion for working family forests, and understands their importance to America’s rural economies.” Markets are an important issue for Tree Farmers, and we are making progress on the green building front. However, policy issues continue to arise that discriminate against wood products. One of our top five recommendations to Congress for the 2012 Farm Bill is to open markets for wood products. If you haven’t already done so, please take a moment to write to your members of Congress and share our recommendations for the next Farm Bill, reinforcing how important markets are for keeping forests healthy and intact.