As part of the celebration of the International Year of the Forest, USDA Secretary Vilsack today announced several initiatives to encourage the use of sustainably harvested wood as an environmentally sound building material. The Nature Conservancy supports this approach.
Most of America’s forest land is privately owned, and only if forest land owners receive income from their forests, will their lands stay in long-term forest management. Trees can certainly be harvested in a way that allows forests to retain their many other values such as protection of water resources and providing wildlife habitat. Using such sustainably harvested wood for construction often requires less energy than other materials and actually locks away the carbon contained in that wood for years to come.
Managed properly, forests are, literally, a green resource. The use of wood is good for the American economy and, particularly for the economy of rural America. These economic uses are compatible with protection of our environment. The Nature Conservancy congratulates Secretary Vilsack on his announcement.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.