Forests Remove Greenhouse Gases from the Atmosphere
Scientific research has demonstrated that forests provide environmental values, including removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere that non-forested landscapes cannot. As a tree grows it takes in carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, from the atmosphere and releases oxygen in the process of photosynthesis. This carbon is sequestered and stored, in the forest and in the wood products we use everyday. When we use wood products in our buildings, we avoid concrete and steel, products that emit large amounts of carbon dioxide in their manufacturing process.
Wood Products Are Energy Efficient
Wood building materials produce less air and water pollution, require less energy and generate less CO2 emissions than other common building materials.
Concrete creates 51% more solid waste than using wood to build a typical house.
Steel requires 400% more water than using wood to build the same structure.
Two tons of carbon emissions are offset for every dry metric ton of wood used.
Wood Products Are Renewable Green Building Materials
The Obama administration endorsed wood as a green building material. This endorsement acknowledges that growing trees take carbon out of the atmosphere, storing it first in the forest, which when harvested continues storing this carbon in wood products.
"Agriculture Secretary Vilsack urges US builders to prioritize wood in green buildings."
Sustainable Wood Building Materials Protect Environment and Create Jobs
"Wood may be one of the world's oldest building materials, but it is now also one of the most advanced," says Agriculture Secretary Vilsack. Sustainable forestry produces wood products that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and supports rural American jobs.
Wood: the Environmental Choice of Architects and Engineers
Architects and engineers are choosing wood for its versatility, durability, beauty and renewable properties. Joe Mayo, Architect from Seattle recently gave a presentation to private forest landowners about the use of wood in buildings around the world, and how Washignton can reconnect with its roots by using more wood in its buildings. Watch the video here.
Unmanaged Forests Release Carbon
"A legacy of fire suppression has resulted in our forests that are over-stocked and much more susceptible to catastrophic fire and disease. Restoring forest ecosystems, particularly in fire-adapted forests, will make our forests more resilient to climate-induced stresses and will ensure that our forests will continue to provide ample, abundant, clean water." United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
Responsibly Managed Forests Absorb Carbon
Sustainable forestry increases CO2 absorption from the atmosphere as a result of young trees absorbing higher levels of carbon dioxide than older trees, making the forest act as a carbon sink. Responsibly managed forests provide drinking water, a healthy climate, wildlife habitat, and green jobs in rural economies. Managed forests increase CO2 absorption and prevent catastrophic fire, disease and insects that kill trees and emit carbon dioxide.
Clean Energy From Forests
Liquid biofuels created from wood products, like cellulosic ethanol, reduce green house gas emissions by 91% from emission produced by fossil fuels. These biofuels are also among the most efficient new transportation fuels. For example, it takes 4.6 gallons of corn ethanol to displace the emissions of one gallon of gas, but only takes 1.1 gallons of cellulosic ethanol to do the same.
Bioenergy Emissions Are Different Than Fossil Fuel Emissions
Fossil fuels add carbon to the atmosphere that would otherwise remain trapped underground.
Bioenergy emits CO2 that is in a natural carbon cycle and would be released anyway through decay or wildfire.
The CO2 released when the biomass is burned is reabsorbed when forests are replanted.