Banner for LabNotes
From Lab Notes
Contact Information
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592
Email

 

You are here: FPL Home  / Information Products & Services  / Publications

Requested Product

Title: What Is the Impact of Mass Timber Utilization on Climate and Forests?

Source: Sustainability journal

Author(s)Pasternack, Rachel ; Wishnie, Mark ; Clarke, Caitlin ; Wang, Yangyang ; Belair, Ethan ; Marshall, Steve ; Gu, Hongmei ; Nepal, Prakash ; Dolezal, Franz ; Lomax, Guy ; Johnston, Craig ; Felmer, Gabriel ; Morales-Vera, Rodrigo ; Puettmann, Maureen ; Van den Huevel, Robyn

Publication Year: 2022  View PDF »

Category: Journal Articles

Abstract: As the need to address climate change grows more urgent, policymakers, businesses, and others are seeking innovative approaches to remove carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere and decarbonize hard-to-abate sectors. Forests can play a role in reducing atmospheric carbon. However, there is disagreement over whether forests are most effective in reducing carbon emissions when left alone versus managed for sustainable harvesting and wood product production. Cross-laminated timber is at the forefront of the mass timber movement, which is enabling designers, engineers, and other stakeholders to build taller wood buildings. Several recent studies have shown that substituting mass timber for steel and concrete in mid-rise buildings can reduce the emissions associated with manufacturing, transporting, and installing building materials by 13%-26.5%. However, the prospect of increased utilization of wood products as a climate solution also raises questions about the impact of increased demand for wood on forest carbon stocks, on forest condition, and on the provision of the many other critical social and environmental benefits that healthy forests can provide. A holistic assessment of the total climate impact of forest product demand across product substitution, carbon storage in materials, current and future forest carbon stock, and forest area and condition is challenging, but it is important to understand the impact of increased mass timber utilization on forests and climate, and therefore also on which safeguards might be necessary to ensure positive outcomes. To thus assess the potential impacts, both positive and negative, of greater mass timber utilization on forests ecosystems and emissions associated with the built environment, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) initiated a global mass timber impact assessment (GMTIA), a five-part, highly collaborative research program focused on understanding the potential benefits and risks of increased demand for mass timber products on forests and identifying appropriate safeguards to ensure positive outcomes.

Keywords: mass timber; carbon storage; lifecycle analysis; regional demand assessments; global trade modelling; climate change; forest impact assessments; sustainable forest management

Publication Review Process: Formally Refereed

File size: 475 kb(s)

Date posted: 02/25/2022

This publication is also viewable on Treesearch:  view
RITS Product ID: 10430
Current FPL Scientist associated with this product
Gu, Hongmei
Forest Products Technologist
  

Additional items that might interest you
View the video celebrating FPL's 100 years of public service in 2010, from the producers of the Greatest Good....view

Research Highlights from FPL....view

Termite Eradication: A search for the Holy Grail.... view

Moisture Management in Residential Construction Series videos...view

Wood Floor Systems in Residential Construction Series videos....view
- FPL's Mission and Strategic Plan -

FPL's mission is to identify and conduct innovative wood and fiber utilization research that contributes to conservation and productivity of the forest resource, thereby sustaining forests, the economy, and quality of life. ... ..more »

- FPL Research Emphasis Areas -
Advanced Composites

As an integral part of the FPL mission, we improve the long-term sustainability of our Nation's forests by creating valuable composite products from biobased materials ... ..more »


Advanced Structures

The FPL has been in the forefront of wood-frame housing research since 1910 and has long been recognized as a world leader in such housing-related areas as engineered wood ... ..more »


Forest Biorefinery

We all know the compelling reasons that the United States needs to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. Historically, the greatest increases in energy demand have been for transportation fuels ... ..more »


Nanotechnology

A leader in wood products research for over a century, the FPL is positioning itself to become the lead Federal research facility for the application of nanotechnology in forest products ... more »


Woody Biomass Utilization

Forests in the United States contain a substantial amount of small-diameter, overstocked, and underutilized material.FPL research projects are exploring the potential of the small-diameter ... ..more »