Georgia Governor Nathan Deal formally recognized the multiple benefits of using certified sustainable wood in green buildings, including wood certified to the American Tree Farm System® (ATFS) standards.
The executive order, publicly released and signed by Governor Deal on August 10, promotes the use of green building standards in Georgia’s state buildings.
ATFS applauds Governor Deal’s recognition and his work to further the message that wood is truly a green building material. Georgia’s family forest owners need strong markets for their wood products in order continue to maintain healthy forests.
“Demand for Georgia’s wood products is just what family forest owners need. Markets for forest products are at Depression-era lows. Increased demand for these home-grown green building materials will help keep Georgia’s forests as forests because owners will reinvest resources back into their land,” said Bettina Ring, AFF’s Senior Vice President for Family Forests.
The American Tree Farm System, a program of the American Forest Foundation (AFF), works on the ground with family forest owners and in Georgia, those in the ATFS program manage 1,641,741 acres on more than 1,971 certified Tree Farms. These families have made a commitment to sustainable forest management, which in turn provides clean air and water, wildlife habitat, and opportunities for Georgians to connect to the outdoors. Georgia’s private forests provide public services worth $37 billion per year.
Wood products from responsibly managed forests have the benefit of being good for the environment. Wood products store carbon, helping to reduce greenhouse gas levels, and compared to other building materials, wood processing results in lower energy consumption and emissions.
Unfortunately, some green building policies continue to discriminate against the use of wood products and have failed to recognize these environmental benefits. Green building policies that give wood recognition as a green building material, particularly ATFS certified wood, are an important piece of the puzzle to strengthen markets for wood products and help keep Georgia’s forests as forests.
AFF works to strengthen markets for wood products by encouraging the use of forest products produced from American Tree Farm System-certified lands. Healthy markets for forest products create good paying jobs, particularly in rural communities. Public policies that promote green buildings and green procurement should recognize and treat all credible forest certification systems equally. Learn more at www.forestfoundation.org/greening-america.
The American Tree Farm System
The American Tree Farm System (ATFS), a program of the American Forest Foundation, is a network of private woodland owners sustainably managing 27 million acres of forestland. It is the largest and oldest sustainable family woodland system in America, internationally recognized, meeting strict third-party certification standards. For more than 70 years, ATFS has enhanced the quality of America’s woodlands by giving forest owners the tools they need to keep their forests healthy and productive. Visit www.treefarmsystem.org to learn more.