Forest Products and the Economy
Wood is a versatile, renewable, and carbon positive resource. Using wood instead of more carbon-intensive materials (such as steel and concrete) helps decrease our environmental footprint. Forest management ensures a stable supply of wood and other forest products while supporting local, regional, and global economies.
Connecticut's forest product industry, for example, employs over 16,000 people in rural and suburban areas, and accounts for over $3 billion in output annually (Public Sector Consultants et al. 2020).
Using durable wood products avoids carbon emissions from the extraction and production of more carbon-intensive materials such as vinyl, carpet, concrete, and steel (Oliver et al. 2014). In fact, substituting wood for steel and concrete in new buildings world-wide would reduce global CO2 emissions by 14 to 31% (Oliver et al. 2014) and interest in this technology is rising (Struck 2019). Wood utilization and technology continue to improve the production of wood products and increase associated carbon storage (Tollefson 2017).
The carbon in durable wood products is stored much longer than the carbon in dead trees (Russell 2014). In southern New England, the volume of wood in trees that die naturally is over three times that contained in harvested trees (Oswalt et al. 2019).
Revenue generated from the sale of forest products helps keep forests as forests and limits their conversion to non-forest uses.
Oswalt S.N., Smith W.B., Miles P.D., and Pugh S.A. (2018) Forest Resources of the United States, 2017: A technical document supporting the Forest Service 2020 RPA Assessment. Gen. Tech. Rep. WO97. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington Office. 237 pp.
Struck, D. (2019) Forget the Log Cabin. Wood Buildings are Climbing Skyward with Pluses Planet Washington Post Climate Solutions. https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-solutions/2019/12/12/forget-log-cabin-wood-buildings-are-climbing-skyward-with-pluses-planet/
Tollefson, J. (2017) The wooden skyscrapers that could help to cool the planet. Nature 545, 280–282.