National Forest Products Week reminds us that wood is good for the environment


Every third week of October, the United States celebrates National Forest Products Week. Forest Products Week provides an opportunity for us all to recognize our nation’s forestry sector and reflect on how working forests benefit our economy, the environment and quality of life.

The forestry sector is special because it provides numerous essential products made from a sustainably sourced, renewable resource. As nations, local governments and communities search for ways to mitigate climate change and reduce greenhouse gases, many are looking to working forests as a natural way to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store that carbon in the trees and wood products. And because forest products are made from trees – nature’s own carbon sequester – there’s growing enthusiasm and interest in forest products as a means of addressing climate change.

For example, builders and architects are incorporating more innovative wood products like mass timber in their designs. Some even envision that one day, cities with buildings primarily made of wood and wood products could make urban areas carbon sinks. That’s because carbon sequestration in sustainably managed private forest lands and carbon storage in forest products can provide a natural solution to climate change while also providing a variety of additional benefits like clean air and water, wildlife habitat and good-paying jobs.

A cross section of cross-laminated timber, often referred to as CLT.

It is why the Washington State Legislature and Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law in 2020 legislation that recognizes the essential role the state’s forestry sector and working forests play in helping to address climate change. The legislation formerly establishes state guidelines that support the forest sector in its entirety as part of the state’s climate solution. That includes private forest landowners, lumber mills, pulp and paper mills, bioenergy, biochar, mass timber and the countless industries that rely on wood to make the products we all use daily.

In advance of National Forest Product Week, Pres. Joe Biden issued a proclamation declaring October 17–23 of this year as National Forest Products Week.

Said Biden during the proclamation signing as reported in Biomass Magazine:

“Our forests and the many ecosystem services and wood products they provide are key elements in securing an environmentally sustainable economy. My Administration will continue to advance community-driven conservation and restoration initiatives that will create good jobs—especially in low-income and rural communities—and generate economic growth. My Administration is also supporting business opportunities that advance forest conservation and create jobs by expanding markets for innovative forest products through Federal programs such as the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service Wood Innovations and Community Wood grant programs. We are proposing investments in sustainable and innovative uses for wood waste materials to produce advanced biofuels, biochar, heat, and power—including through sustainable aviation fuels and other sustainable biofuels. These programs have the potential to support increased connections between the health of our forests, economic opportunity, and the production of valuable renewable energy.”