Private working forests help mitigate climate change


Forest landowners and wood products manufacturers across the United States are well-positioned to optimize the carbon potential of sustainable working forests.

Leaders from 48 environmental, conservation and forest business leaders across the country recognize that private working forests and forest products can play an important role in mitigating climate change.

Among the signatories are Washington Forest Protection Association members Green Diamond Resource Company, Hancock Natural Resource Group, Port Blakely, Rayonier, Sierra Pacific Industries and Weyerhaeuser Company. Environmental and conservation groups including American Forests, Environmental Defense Fund and The Nature Conservancy also signed onto the letter.

“As a family-owned company focused on cultivating a healthy world, tackling the climate crisis is an urgent priority. Our working forests must be part of the solution so the next generation can continue our stewardship,” said René Ancinas, Chairman & CEO, Port Blakely.

The declaration recognizes that healthy, sustainable forest products markets are critical to “optimizing the benefits of forest carbon on private lands and the materials they produce.” Accompanying the letter was a set of policy standards recognizing that carbon sequestration in working forests and the carbon that is stored throughout the life of a wood product is a natural solution to climate change.

“These principles show how leaders can come together from different perspectives to establish common ground for the common good,” said David P. Tenny, President and CEO of National Alliance of Forest Owners. “Private working forests, the products they produce and the rural communities that sustain them, are the beating heart of natural climate solutions in the US. Together they help reverse the impacts of climate change better than any other segment of our economy why sustaining 2.5 million American jobs. By harnessing the power of markets, science and sustainable practices, we can empower them to do even more. Modern forestry harnesses the power of forest product markets to support rural communities with jobs that are helping mitigate climate change.”

The letter also underscores that the forestry industry has a role to play in stewardship, supporting wildlife and economic development. According to the news release: “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 wide variety of additional benefits like clean air and water, wildlife habitat, and good-paying jobs.”

In addition, the CEOs agreed on a shared vision for increasing the contribution of forests and the forest products industry to address climate change. Some of the tenets include:

  • Support for policies that include incentives and market-based structures that are accessible and credible to maintaining working forests, increasing carbon benefits across the working forest value chain, and encouraging broad participation from forest owners, forest products manufacturers and potential investors
  • Policies that spur investments in rural jobs, businesses and infrastructure necessary to support a strong forest economy
  • Updating building and architecture codes to reflect the carbon benefits of advanced wood construction
  • Ensure sustainability through practices like forest certification, use of best forest management practices and other approaches that support clean air and water, wildlife habitat, conservation of ecologically sensitive areas and other environmental benefits

“Our forests play a critically important role as a natural climate solution, but we know addressing the significant challenges of climate change will require collaboration with a broad coalition of partners. These principles represent an important first step in bringing together industry and environmental groups around a shared commitment to climate action. We look forward to working with this coalition to advocate together for effective climate policies in the future,” said Devin Stockfish, President and CEO, Weyerhaeuser.