There’s an exciting dialogue happening in our cities and towns.
It’s positive conversation in which we’re collectively rediscovering knowledge lost in the last century—wood is our most natural resource.
It’s about how we balance the need to be more carbon-friendly with our natural impulse to have our communities grow, improve, and thrive.
But as we dive into the exciting realm of possibilities for how to integrate more sustainable, renewable wood into building our future responsibly, we have to be mindful that Washington needs to support a sustainable forestry economy, too.
From the real jobs worked by people in forestry and forestry-related occupations—together, Washington’s forestry industry is the state’s third largest employer—to keeping sustainable wood competitive with less carbon-friendly alternatives for construction, a stable and growing forestry sector is good for our future.
Working forests in Washington state support more than 101,000 workers, generate about $5.5 billion in wages annually, and pay about $214 million in taxes.
Washington’s forests are important to the nation, as it is the 2nd largest lumber producer in the U.S.
Almost one-quarter of Washington’s economy is in its manufacturing sector and the forest products industry is the third largest in that segment.
In rural communities across Washington, the forest products industry provides thousands of family-wage jobs growing nearly 70 percent of the timber harvested in our state. Their work must be carried on year after year—without regard to ebbs and flows in the state economy—to maintain healthy, fire-resistant forests and clean, flowing streams.
Washington’s forestry industry constitutes the state’s third largest employer, due in no small part to the productivity of working forests in supplying materials for use in a wide range of green, renewable wood products.
All too often, our discussions about how to best manage our forests becomes clouded by controversy. In that fog of confusion, most of us want to reach out to science for objective, tested answers. We support that approach.
Active management is a valid tool that can promote revenues, taxes, jobs and produce renewable wood products for society. By allowing science to guide our decision-making on forest practices, we can more quickly sort out what works and what doesn’t work in order to support sustainable forestry, a vital value of working forests in all of our communities.