March 31, 2011
"USDA’s commitment to using wood in new buildings will leverage the considerable buying power of this federal agency. That’s good news for family forest owners and rural economies.
"We hear from forest owners in the American Tree Farm System®, who are sustainably managing more than 26 million acres of forest land, that healthy forests need healthy markets. This new policy will advance sustainable forest management and conservation on the ground.
"This is good for wood. Good for jobs. Good for communities.
"Sustainably harvested wood is doubly green. Not only does wood in construction result in less emissions – 70 percent to 88 percent lower compared to steel or concrete, wood used in buildings stores carbon dioxide and keeps it out of the atmosphere indefinitely.
"For decades traditional markets for forest products have been disappearing. From 2006 to 2010 the forest products industry lost 28 percent of its workforce. At the same time, some misguided policies at the federal, state and local levels had actively discouraged the use of wood products in green building.
"Secretary Vilsack should be commended for setting a bold new direction for green building policy that directs the agency to look to wood as the preferred green building material for meeting LEED and Green Globe standards."