Working forests meet Earth Day goals year round



Media Contact: Cindy Mitchell, (360) 791-9372,


Working forests meet Earth Day goals year round

Using wood grown in sustainably managed forests contribute to carbon mitigation

Olympia, Wash. – Earth Day is every day for Washington’s working forests.

A recent report from the leading body of world experts on climate change confirms that the contributions of Washington state’s actively managed forests are critical to mitigating climate change and addressing global carbon emissions. In its Sixth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that the use of wood products contributes to carbon mitigation in two distinctly different ways: carbon storage in wood products and material substitution.

Wood products and the managed working forests that supply the wood are climate-friendly building materials. That’s because when the sustainably harvested wood is used for the manufacture of wood products, the carbon remains stored throughout the wood product’s lifespan. Wood that is substituted for other building materials that are not renewable, or require more energy to produce, helps communities achieve sustainability goals, including climate neutrality by 2050.

“Washington is one of the major timber producing regions in the United States, manufacturing and supplying long-lived wood products from harvested trees.  To meet the needs of our growing population, we need to grow and manufacture wood in our region, which has some of the highest level of environmental regulations in the nation,” said Jason Spadaro, Executive Director of the Washington Forest Protection Association.

The IPCC warned that reducing harvests may harm mitigation efforts overall. While harvest reductions might increase carbon storage in forest ecosystems locally, these gains may be offset when wood supply is met through international trade of forest products causing increased harvesting pressure or even degradation elsewhere.

Washington state has a natural climate solution and an ability to address the concerns raised by the IPCC report, while expanding economic opportunities for the State, if it remains committed to a balanced approach of actively managing working forestlands.

“Washington’s state lands have been a leader in sustainable forest management, with some of the most stringent forest practices in the world and more than 40% of our 2 million acres of forest lands set aside under our Habitat Conservation Plan for over 50 species that are threatened and endangered,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz.  “Washington’s public and private working forest lands play an indispensable role in providing natural climate solutions that help reduce carbon in the atmosphere by sequestering large amounts of carbon in the forest ecosystem and then storing this carbon in the wood products we need for our built environment.  If we are to truly meet our climate challenge, we need more, not less forests working in Washington State.”

The full IPCC report can be accessed here. More information about how Washington state’s working forests are a natural carbon solution can be found here.

About the Washington Forest Protection Association

The Washington Forest Protection Association (WFPA) was founded in 1908 and represents private forest landowners growing and harvesting trees on about 4 million acres in Washington State.  Members of the 114-year-old association are large and small companies, individuals and families who practice sustainable forestry in Washington’s private forests.  For more information, go to