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Wood grows naturally and is renewable. Responsible forest management is achieved through adherence to federal, state and provincial laws, best management practices and third-party forest certification systems. This helps to ensure that forests are legally harvested and managed to meet society’s long-term demand for forest products.
Until the early 1900s, settlers coming to North America cleared an average of 2.1 acres of forest per person to survive and grow food. Since then, the establishment of industrial agriculture and other changes in land use have mitigated the need for forest clearing and forest acreage has been stable for close to a century. Responsible forest management has resulted in more than 50 consecutive years of net forest growth that exceeds annual forest harvests.
According to the National Report on Sustainable Forests – 2010, the U.S. has approximately 751 million acres of forest area, which is about one third of the country’s total land area. “This stability is in spite of a nearly three-fold increase in population over the same period and is in marked contrast with many countries where wide-scale deforestation remains a pressing concern.” More than half of U.S. forests are owned by private landowners, including more than 22 million family forest owners. The rest are owned by public entities such as national, state and local governments. The fact that net forest growth has outpaced the amount of wood harvested for decades supports the idea that landowners who depend economically on the resource have a strong incentive for sustainable management.
Sustainable Forest Certification
While forestry is practiced in keeping with regulations and guidelines that consider environmental, economic and social values for that particular country, voluntary forest certification allows forest companies to demonstrate the effectiveness of their practices by having them independently assessed against sustainability standards.
Wood is the only structural building material with third-party certification programs in place to verify that products being sold have come from a responsibly managed resource. As of August 2013, more than 500 million acres of forest in Canada and the U.S. were certified under one of the four internationally recognized programs used in North America: the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), American Tree Farm System (ATFS) and Canadian Standards Association’s Sustainable Forest Management Standard.
Source: https://www.thinkwood.com/our-ceus/impact-wood-use-north-american-forests, Think Wood