WA governor lauds forest products’ role in economy, sustainability

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Washington Forest Protection Association

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee’s proclamation of this week (Oct. 18-24) as Washington Forest Products Industry Week is proof of the importance of wood products to the state’s economy and environment, industry leaders say.

“The governor’s announcement is yet another validation that products from the forest are renewable and sustainable,” said Mark Doumit of the Washington Forest Protection Association. “It helps communicate the reality that responsibly managed forests are essential to our lives and livelihoods here in Washington.”

WFPA is a trade association representing private forest landowners, including large and small companies, individuals and families who grow, harvest and re-grow trees on about 4 million acres in Washington State.

Gov. Inslee’s proclamation notes that the industry supports more than 41,000 direct jobs and another 63,000 forestry-related jobs, paying wages of nearly $4.9 billion a year.  It also recognizes forests’ “critical role in combating climate change due to the natural process of photosynthesis where trees absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, release oxygen into the atmosphere and capture carbon, which is stored in wood products for the life of the product.”

According to industry leaders, one of the most promising and innovative wood products on the horizon is cross-laminated timber (CLT). The use of CLT in tall buildings was pioneered in Europe and is now starting to be replicated in the U.S.  CLT is made from massive timbers that are laminated to each other in alternating directions, pressed together with thousands of pounds of pressure and bonded further with high-strength adhesives.

One Northwest example of CLT construction is Framework, a 12-story apartment and office building that will be the first wood high-rise and tallest wood building in the U.S. when completed in Portland in 2017.  The building last month received a $1.5 million award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the U.S. Tall Wood Building Prize Competition, promoting the use of CLT construction for sustainable building while helping rural communities that rely on the forest products industry.

“CLT is technologically advanced and engineered wood that provides a strong, safe, affordable building product that is more sustainable, less energy intensive and friendlier to the environment than the steel and concrete currently used in most buildings,” Doumit said.

Gov. Inslee’s proclamation declaring this week as Washington Forest Products Industry Week notes that Washington wood products help safeguard fish, water quality and wildlife habitat.  The forestry industry is the state’s third largest manufacturing sector, producing wood, paper, and pulp-based products that people use every day.

This week is also National Forest Products Week, established as an annual celebration by Congress in 1960 and celebrated each year by an industry that today employs more than 900,000 workers in the U.S. economy.

For more information about CLT, go to www.TheMostNaturalResource.com