Unlike products that deplete the earth’s resources, wood is the only major building material that grows naturally and is renewable. In North America, responsible forest management ensures that forests are legally harvested and managed to meet society’s long-term demand for forest products.
In the US, more than half of all forests are owned by private landowners, including more than 10 million family forest owners. The rest are owned by public entities such as national, state and local governments. According to the 2007 State of America’s Forests report, “less than 2 percent of the standing tree inventory is harvested each year while net tree growth is close to 3 percent.” The USDA’s National Report on Sustainable Forests (2010) speaks to the continuation of this trend, confirming that “the area of timber land in the United States has been very stable during the past 50 years.”
In Canada, 93 percent of the forests are publicly owned and forest companies operate under stringent sustainability laws. Less than one half of one percent of the managed forest is harvested annually, and the law requires regeneration of all harvested areas.
The rate of deforestation in both countries has been virtually zero for more than two decades.
Sustainable Forest Certification
Wood is the only structural building material with third-party certification programs in place to verify that products originate from a sustainably managed resource. Sustainable forest certification allows forest companies to demonstrate the effectiveness of their practices by having them independently assessed against a stringent standard that considers environmental, economic and social values. North America has more certified forests than any other part of the world and all of the major forest certification programs in North America are recognized globally.
- Deforestation in Canada – What are the Facts – Natural Resources Canada
- National Report on Sustainable Forests, 2010 – USDA Forest Service
- State of the World’s Forests, 2011 – United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
- The State of America’s Forests, 2007 – Society of American Foresters
- The State of Canada’s Forests Report, 2011 – Natural Resources Canada
- Examining the Linkage between Forest Regulation and Forest Certification around the World – naturallywood.com
- Forest Certification in Canada: The Programs, Similarities and Achievements – FPAC
- Certification Canada
- Dovetail Partners Inc. – (includes numerous certification-related reports)