Trees Are Climate Change, Carbon Storage Heroes

Mature trees like this Elm can sequester more than 48 pounds of carbon dioxide in a single year. Photo by USDA Forest Service

J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings, once wrote, “I longed to devise a setting in which the trees might really march to war.”

If climate change is a battle for Earth’s survival, then trees will be a vital army holding the line. When Tolkien imagined trees marching to war, he couldn’t have foreseen how relevant those words would one day be.

Trees are a bastion against climate change.

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Labeling Wood Products for a Greener World

Seven updated Environmental product declarations (EPDs) for wood products were recently released by the American Wood Council (AWC).  Maintaining up-to-date industry-wide, cradle-to-gate EPDs is a joint venture among several organizations including the AWC, the Canadian Wood Council (CWC), Consortium for Research on Renewable Industrial Materials (CORRIM), The Engineered Wood Association (APA), Composite Panel Association (CPA), and Forest Products Laboratory (FPL).

The updated EPDs cover a diverse selection of wood products: lumber, plywood, oriented strand board, laminated veneer lumber, I-joists, glue-laminated timber, and redwood lumber.

EPDs aren’t just arbitrary labels slapped onto wood products—they offer a transparent and straight-forward way to understand the potential and overall environmental impact of a wood product, starting from its harvesting and ending at its usage, its cradle-to-gate profile. Industry-wide EPDs also include a permanent carbon sequestration calculation that can be balanced against the amount of carbon emitted during manufacture.  

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