The Forest Products Sector Carbon Bill, also known as HB 2528, is significant legislation recognizing the crucial role of the forest products sector in combating climate change. Enacted on March 25th, 2020, this law highlights that private forestry can annually sequester 12% of the state’s carbon emissions.
Well-managed forests supply renewable timber, keeping carbon stored within wood products over their lifespan.
The bill emphasizes that a thriving forest products sector is essential for the ongoing process of capturing and sequestering carbon in growing trees. Research from the University of Washington underscores the contribution of private working forests in mitigating global warming, showing that wood products and net forest growth collectively accounted for approximately 12% of the effort in 2015.
Scientists, researchers, environmental organizations, and working foresters recognize trees as a natural climate change solution, with sustainably managed forests effectively sequestering greenhouse gases. A group of 48 CEOs from forestry, conservation, and environmental organizations, including the Nature Conservancy and the Environmental Defense Fund, has endorsed principles acknowledging the role of sustainable forests and forest products in mitigating climate change.
Foresters collaborate with state agencies, biologists, and communities to safeguard wildlife. Sustainably managed forests offer valuable fish and wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, water quality protection, and other natural resource benefits. In Washington, private forestland owners have restored over 6,500 miles of fish waterways by removing or replacing 9,200 stream blockages and in 2021 have completed the upgrade of roads and elimination of fish barriers on private lands.
Growing, harvesting and thinning are essential for managing forests, and enhancing their resilience to wildfires, diseases, and infestations. Sustainably managed forests provide wildlife habitat, and recreational spaces, and contribute to air and water quality maintenance.
Virtually every part of a harvested tree is used to make lumber, cross-laminated timber, and various durable wood products. Additionally, wood shavings, branches, and other tree residuals are utilized to create paper, medicine, food ingredients, cosmetics, renewable fuel, and other everyday products.
Washington State aims to reduce 95% of its carbon emissions by 2050, necessitating a multifaceted approach. Trees, being a natural carbon sink, play a crucial role in removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. A robust forestry industry ensures a continuous cycle of planting, harvesting, and replanting to maintain this carbon cycle.
Concrete and steel production relies on energy-intensive processes primarily powered by fossil fuels. In contrast, wood-based building materials have a considerably lower carbon footprint and generate fewer carbon emissions. Wood is also a renewable resource, growing naturally.
Managed forests and wood products are a naturally occurring part of the solution to address goals for reducing carbon emissions by storing carbon in the forest and wood products. Scientific research has demonstrated that forests provide environmental values, including removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere that non-forested landscapes cannot.