September 08, 2022

DHA eNews - Forest Products Sector Opposes Universal Definition Of "Old Growth"

This Week's Insights

As the summer of 2022 unofficially comes to a close, Decorative Hardwoods Association and our industry partners have been active, opposing a new sweeping, universal definition of "old growth forests" that we see as unworkable and inconsistent with diverse forests. These and other regulations, including the long-eared bat endangered species listing, could further limit harvests despite the well-documented sustainability of wood products and the need for wood products that can store carbon emissions and reduce climate change.

At the same time, the new Inflation Reduction Act provides more than $2 billion to help fund low-embodied carbon materials and products—products that emit substantially lower levels of greenhouse gas during production, use, and disposal—for use in government construction. To qualify, wood products that reduce carbon emissions, including decorative hardwoods, will need to demonstrate this by developing environmental product declarations. DHA is already developing a declaration for engineered wood floors with the National Wood Flooring Association that we plan to release in the coming months.

And, is anyone surprised that the new building for sustainable chemistry at the University of Munich relies heavily on wood products? We're not.

If you have questions or comments, contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.

Keith A. Christman, President
Decorative Hardwoods Association


Photo © USFS

Forest Products Sector Opposes Universal Definition Of "Old Growth"

The U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Interior jointly published a notice in the Federal Register seeking public comment on the creation of a "universal definition framework" for old growth and mature forests on federal land. This could set the stage for a federal inventory of old-growth forestland and possible new restrictions on sustainable harvesting practices.

New Law Includes Funding For Wood & Other Carbon-Reducing Products

On August 16, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law. While a mixed bag for the hardwood industry, the law includes billions of dollars for low‑carbon products like wood.

USFS Study Underscores Role Of Wood Products In Carbon Storage

A new USFS study and technical report emphasizes the importance of wood products and carbon sequestration, stating that wood is "critically important for our changing climate."

Chemistry Building At University Of Munich Built With Wood

The University of Munich is constructing a new center for research and education in sustainable chemistry. Recognizing the sustainability of wood products, the building's facade was created from wood, glass, and concrete. Sustainably sourced wood was used heavily in lecture halls. 

Russian Goods Are Still Flowing Into The U.S.

Six months into the war, ships from Russia are still delivering plywood, aluminum rods, and radioactive material to U.S. ports. More than 3,600 shipments of Russian goods have arrived in the U.S. since Russia began launching missiles into Ukraine in February. That is, however, a significant decrease from the same period in 2021, when about 6,000 shipments were delivered.

Vietnam's Timber Exports To U.S., EU & UK Are Falling

Vietnam's export timber orders to the U.S., EU, and the UK have fallen considerably, down 38% in June vs. last year, followed by a decline of 5.5% in July.  All three areas are experiencing high inflation, high interest rates, and higher freight costs. Another contributing factor is excessive retail inventory.

Jobs Are Returning To The U.S.

A new report shows that reshoring, the return of offshored jobs, is continuing to accelerate in the U.S. after a record year in 2021. Experts predict a total of about 350,000 reshored or foreign investment jobs in 2022, up from 260,000 in 2021.

Kitchen, Bath Industry Reports Slowdown

The National Kitchen & Bath Association reports signs of a cooling economy. There is evidence of more inventory piling up, and supply chain issues and inflation will remain a challenge for the rest of this year.

China Renews Commitment To Plant Or Conserve 70 Billion Trees By 2030

China's five-year economic plan includes the greening of more than 82 million acres by 2025, with forest area increased to more than 24%. The goal is that 70 billion trees will be growing in China by 2030.

1 In 6 U.S. Tree Species Faces Threat Of Extinction

About 100 native species could die out because of the onslaught of invasive insects, a surge in deadly diseases, and climate change. Only eight tree species are federally recognized as endangered or threatened.

EU Deforestation Law Progresses

The goal of the EU deforestation law is to minimize worldwide forest loss by banning commodities like soy and beef that are linked to deforestation. The law would put the onus on companies that import and trade in these products to conduct supply chain due diligence.

Forest Fires Burn Twice As Many Trees As 2 Decades Ago

Researchers at the University of Maryland report that warmer and drier conditions are causing forest fires to burn out of control. In 2021, fires destroyed 7.4 million acres more than in 2001. Forest fires accounted for 25% of global tree loss in the past 20 years.

Timber Homes Fight Climate Change

Building new homes from timber could save about 10% of the world's carbon budget. A new study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research shows that if 90% of the world's new urban population were housed in new timber mid-rise buildings, we could save 106 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2100.

Capital Testing Exhibits At IWF 2022

The Capital Testing team discussed flame spread and wood coatings tests, their test protocol for evaluating alternatives to Russian birch plywood, and the upcoming expiration of the EPA TSCA Title VI laminator exemption in 2024 at IWF 2022. To find out more, contact Capital Testing.

U.S. Existing-Home Sales Decline For Sixth Consecutive Month
Canadian Building Permits Down 6.6%
U.S. Single-Family Housing Demand Will Stay "Solid" For The Next Decade
U.S. Housing Market Experiences Historic Affordability Shock
Expect U.S. Housing Recession To Continue & To Flatten House Prices—Eventually
New Homes Are Getting Smaller
Forest Quiz: Test Your Knowledge

What is the most common family of hardwood trees?

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