2007 Annual Report

21st Century Vision for Sustainable Forestry

Washington: The Model for Sustainable Forestry

21st century working forests grow timber, protect the environment

Today the growth of America’s forests is 2½ times the removals from harvesting, land clearing or changes in land use, yet we import nearly 40% of our total lumber supply from outside of the country. The United States is the world’s largest producer of softwood lumber, and the Pacific Northwest is one of the primary timber producing regions producing 47% of our nation’s total softwood lumber production. In fact, we supply almost 30% of all lumber consumed in the United States. With some of the highest environmental protections for our forest resources in the world, doesn’t it make sense that we would want to encourage working forests right here at home to provide the environmental values we cherish, and wood products we all use every day?

A Renewable, Responsible Resource

Each person in the United States uses about 5 pounds of forest products per day, or 1,800 pounds per year. This is great news, as forest products are renewable and wood is the most environmentally responsible building material, using far less energy than alternative products. The structural lumber produced right in our backyard is used to build homes for families in our neighborhoods and thousands of other products produced from trees.

Photo of a Buffer Zone

Habitat Protection Is Part Of The Sustainability Equation

Professional foresters protect the environmental values of a working forest, such as fish and wildlife habitat, cool water, clean air and open space. In Washington State, we have raised standards by enacting some of the toughest laws in the nation to protect public resources. For example, the Forests & Fish Law applies to 9.3 million acres and 60,000 miles of streams, and requires forest landowners to inventory and improve their forest roads to protect water quality and fish habitat. Thus far, almost 2,000 blockages in forest streams have been removed. This has opened almost 1,000 miles of fish habitat, approximately the distance between Seattle and Los Angeles.

Working forests protect valuable ecosystem services. Through the Forests & Fish Law, about 765,000 acres of private timberland have been set-aside to grow old trees, protecting riparian habitat alongside forested streams. These trees provide wildlife habitat, shade, stabilize the soil, store carbon dioxide to help reduce global warming, and purify and regulate the water cycle.

Our Hard Work Benefits Us All

Private forest landowners make the investment to grow, harvest and plant the next generation of working forests because of the values they provide to society for renewable wood products, and the environmental benefits we all know to be part of our identity in Washington State.