Working Forests Action Network

This is really, really exciting.

We share a lot with our Canadian neighbors to the north – a heritage of working forestry and shared concerns about balancing sustainability and addressing the changing climate are high on the list.

These common values are why we’ve been watching Vancouver, B.C. with great interest as work continues on what will be – once completed – the world’s tallest wood building.  It’s called the Brock Commons and is planned to top out at 18 stories.

The potential for what the Brock Commons project means for us here in the Pacific Northwest is easy to see.  A “forest to frame” philosophy that could tie urban construction trends and rural lumber manufacturing together into a harmonious and mutually beneficial supply chain could do a lot of good for individual families and the environment.

Last week, the magazine Science published a comprehensive article on the current state of tall wood building materials and construction, writing:

"Although CLT has been around for a quarter-century, tall wooden buildings are only now taking off. Credit growing concerns about climate and computer advances that make it easier to fashion custom-shaped panels, says Sam Zelinka, head of building and fire sciences research at the Forest Products Laboratory, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in Madison. 'The carbon thing has got people thinking about—I don't know what kind of word you want to use—sustainability and greenness,' he says.

"Besides being renewable, wood proponents argue, timber offers a double helping of carbon benefits. It's less energy intensive to produce than steel and concrete. And the wood in a building effectively sequesters carbon, while trees regrowing in logged areas can absorb additional carbon dioxide (CO2). A report from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, estimated that throughout its entire life, a large building made mostly from wood would have a carbon footprint a third smaller than a comparable one made from steel or concrete.

"On a global scale, replacing the steel used in construction with timber such as CLT could cut CO2 emissions by 15% to 20%, according to a 2014 study in the Journal of Sustainable Forestry. 'It's amazing what can be done,' says Chad Oliver, the study's lead author and head of the Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry at Yale University."

We highly recommend reading the entire article on the Science magazine website.

Reader poll results: State trust lands should continue to be a part of an education funding solution.

You may remember that our last message focused on the facts about how working forestry and funding for education in Washington state are directly connected.

Under current law, the Department of Natural Resources has a mandate to tend to the health and productivity of state trust lands in order to generate much-needed revenue for programs, including local K-12 schools.

(Remember – state trust lands aren’t our federal or state parks. They’re only 12% of the total forestland in Washington and are set aside to be a stable, renewable and productive source of positive revenue, primarily for public K-12 schools.)
So we asked our readers in a non-scientific online poll: should the state government fulfill its mandate to generate revenue for funding our schools?
Nearly 9 of 10 said “Yes,” we should stay the course when it comes to the management of state trust lands for generating revenue.

We think these results indicate a strong commitment to maintaining healthy working forestry’s involvement in producing revenue for our schools. 
At a time when there continues to be intense pressure on the state budget with education funding being a critical factor, it’s certain that in the upcoming election the public will have an opportunity to set priorities for how we manage state trust lands in a way that shares the burden.

-Your Friends in Working Forests

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Washington's Working Forests
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