March 09, 2023

DHA eNews - Engineered Wood Flooring Is A Climate-Responsible Choice

This Week's Insights

We know from middle school biology classes that wood is produced from photosynthesis which uses carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and stores carbon in wood products, but we often need data to show that wood products are the climate-responsible choice. DHA has just that: a new environmental product declaration documenting the very low global warming potential of engineered wood flooring. Comparisons to similar studies for vinyl flooring show that the global warming potential of vinyl is nearly six times that of engineered wood flooring.

The tragic train derailment in East Palestine, OH, shows another downside of manufacturing and installing fake wood floors made from vinyl and with vinyl chloride, the toxic chemical released and burned after the train derailed. Instead of using fake wood floors, families can trust beautiful, natural wood floors that minimize toxic chemicals and reduce global warming potential.

It has already been one full year since Russia invaded Ukraine. The U.S. is still importing vast quantities of Russian plywood directly from Russia as well as Russian plywood shipped through Vietnam and other countries. It's not often plywood makes national news; perhaps the next time will be when the U.S. shuts down this war-funding mechanism by banning Russian wood as Europe has done.

All of these topics and more will be discussed at DHA’s Annual Meeting, May 24–26, in Clearwater, Florida. I look forward to seeing you there. If you have questions or comments, contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.

Keith A. Christman, President
Decorative Hardwoods Association

Photo © AHF Products

Engineered Wood Flooring Is A Climate-Responsible Choice, New Study Shows

A new environmental product declaration for engineered wood flooring shows the global warming potential totals 11.41 kg CO2e. Similar environmental product declarations for luxury vinyl plank report a global warming potential of nearly six times that amount. The new report on engineered wood flooring is the result of a multiyear study conducted for the Decorative Hardwoods Association and National Wood Flooring Association. DHA has created a new section on our website to highlight the results of the study and discuss the climate benefits of wood products.

The Dirty Truth About Fake Wood Floors

A recent article publicized the environmental concerns about fake wood flooring, known as vinyl flooring or luxury vinyl plank. Vinyl flooring uses PVC, made from vinyl chloride, the hazardous chemical that was released and burned at the recent train derailment in East Palestine, OH. Per Fast Company, "products like vinyl flooring keep growing, despite the fact that safer alternatives exist."

Real American Hardwood Campaign Touts Health Benefits Of Real Wood

After the tragic derailment of a train carrying toxic chemicals in East Palestine, OH, the DHA-supported Real American Hardwood Campaign emphasized the health benefits of choosing natural hardwoods instead of vinyl.

U.S. Continues To Import Russian Plywood, Reports NBC News

While tariffs helped cut U.S. imports of Russian plywood in half, the U.S. still directly imported at least $1.2 billion worth from Russia in 2022. Plywood remains one of the largest sectors of goods shipped directly from Russia and Belarus into the U.S. and accounts for about half of all Russian consumer goods imported into the U.S. from November to January.

Is Wood Making A Comeback?

The Kitchen & Bath Industry Show featured a clear trend of more wood and wood tones and fewer gloss finishes. Leading the wave: the strong growth in riftsawn white oak for cabinet doors. "Providing a clean and regular grain, mostly in a natural light to medium tone, riftsawn white oak has become very popular with designers to the point that supplies are a challenge for some manufacturers," said the editorial director of Woodworking Network.

Enter The Veneer Tech Craftsman's Challenge

The 2023 Veneer Tech Craftsman's Challenge is open for entries! The winner will receive a grand prize of $3,000. Prizes of $1,000 each will be awarded in the following categories: architectural, cabinetry, furniture, marquetry, specialty products, and student work. Entries are due by June 9. Winners will be announced at the July meeting of the Association of Woodworking & Furnishing Suppliers in Las Vegas.

Canadian Government Still Silent On Global Timber Treaty

The Canadian government has not yet responded to Japan's invitation last summer to rejoin the International Tropical Timber Organization. This global environmental organization helps regulate the timber trade and works with governments to promote conservation and sustainable timber.

The Downside Of Canada's Ban On Foreign Ownership Of Residential Property

Canada's ban on foreign purchases of residential property for two years is preventing the construction of some new rental housing, as it prohibits foreign investment in residential construction. This is an unintended consequence of a law designed to help more Canadians buy homes.

Russia's Wood Harvest Is Falling

Russia harvested 13.5% less timber in 2022 vs. 2021. The reasons for the decline: European sanctions and the Russian government's ban on the export of logs.

Legislators Ask For $60 Billion To Combat Wildfires & Drought

U.S. senators have introduced the Protect the West Act, a bill to invest $60 billion in U.S. forests to reduce fire risk, restore watersheds, and protect communities. Included are partnerships with states and tribes to invest $40 billion to tackle the backlog of restoration, fire mitigation, and resilience projects across public, private, and tribal lands.

USFWS Uses Mass Spectrometry To Identify Smuggled Wood

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is developing a method for tracking the origin of illegal timber using mass spectrometry. DART-MS can be used to quickly identify wood species and sometimes even the geographic origin of a piece of wood.

Biomass Satellite Maps Old Growth Forests

Old growth forests may be one of the most important ways to combat global warming. The European Space Agency's Biomass satellite, launching next year, is scheduled to measure the above-ground biomass of the Earth's forests, collecting information about trunks, bark, and branches.

USDA Invests $49 Million In Fighting Climate Change

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will invest more than $48.6 million this year to combat climate change, including projects to mitigate wildfire risk, improve water quality, and restore ecosystems.

USFWS Proposes Protection Of California's Spotted Owl

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed classifying California spotted owls with habitats in coastal and Southern California forests as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The USFWS recommends classifying the spotted owls in the Sierra Nevada forests in California and western Nevada as threatened.

The Fallout From Fires In Boreal Forests

A new study shows that wildfires ravaged the world's boreal forests, releasing nearly 2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2021. This is a new record for boreal forests, which store about one-third of the Earth's land-based carbon.

Finland's Forests Become Less Of A Carbon Sink

Finland's forests are still a carbon sink. However, this is declining, due to increased wood harvest, slower forest growth, and the refinement of the method of calculating a carbon sink.

U.S. Housing Starts Decline By 4.5%
New-Home Sales Rise To 10-Month High
Existing U.S. Home Sales Fall By 36.9%
Pending U.S. Home Sales Up By 8.1%, The Largest Monthly Increase Since June 2020
Canadian Housing Starts Fall To Lowest Level Since September 2020
New-Home Mortgage Applications Rebound In Response To Lower Rates
New Homes Are Getting Smaller
Lumber & Wood Price Index Dives; Softwoods Fall By 26%
Consumer Outlook Is Pessimistic As Confidence Index Drops
U.S. Hardwood Flooring Imports Grew By 8% In 2022
Expect U.S. Home Furnishing Market To Grow By $8.22 Billion By 2025
Forest Quiz: Test Your Knowledge

Forests cover what percent of the total land area in the U.S. and in Canada?

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