Guest contributor, Scott Jackson from Forests Ontario, discusses sustainable forest management and the benefits of wood in a special feature:
The benefits of wood as a building material are well documented. Wood is our only renewable building material. Wood buildings, including mass timber buildings, are quicker and quieter to construct than structures made of concrete or steel, providing costs savings for builders and developers and creating fewer inconveniences (less noise, fewer lane closures) for nearby residents. From an ecological standpoint, wood is the only building material that can provide a net carbon benefit, providing long-term storage for atmospheric carbon. In a word, wood is the ‘sustainable’ choice.
However, ensuring sustainability begins in the forest with responsible forest management practices. In Ontario (and Canada), we can all be proud that our forest management standards are recognized as the best in the world. We have virtually zero deforestation, we harvest less than a fraction of one percent of the forest each year – which is far less than the area impacted by fire and other natural disturbances – and renewal of the forest is required by law.
We are also world leaders when it comes to forest certification. Forest certification is a voluntary system whereby forestry companies adhere to and are measured against management standards developed by recognized, third-party organizations and provides an additional level of assurance that our forests are being managed in a sustainable manner. Ontario has 2% of the world’s forests, however, has 6% of the world’s certified forests. Canada is home to 9% of the world’s forest, with 37% of the world’s certified forests – more than any other country.
Providing a greater understanding of Ontario’s forest management practices and the benefits of wood products are critical components of the It Takes A Forest initiative (www.ittakesaforest.ca), a collaborative effort of like-minded organizations across the province committed to providing the public of Ontario with fact-based information on our province’s forest sector. This sentiment was at the centre of a recent tour which brought architects, engineers and union leaders from southern Ontario to Timmins to observe forestry operations and lumber manufacturing processes first-hand.
Forests Ontario was proud to be a part of this initiative and we look forward to ongoing collaboration with our colleagues in the engineering, architecture and construction sectors to continuously promote the benefits of wood.
Scott Jackson is the Director of Indigenous and Stakeholder Relations at Forests Ontario.
About Forests Ontario
Forests Ontario is a not-for-profit charity dedicated to re-greening the province through the support of forest restoration, stewardship, education and awareness. We promote Canada’s greatest natural resource – our forests – because healthy forests sustain healthy communities and healthy economies. Forests Ontario is the voice of our forests. Visit www.forestsontario.ca or follow us @Forests_Ontario to find out more.