5 reasons why wood is one of Canada's most valuable resources

When you choose wood harvested from Canadian forests, you can be assured that it comes from legally harvested, sustainably managed sources – sources where operations comply with Canada’s strict laws, regulations and policies for sustainable forest management. Keeping our forests healthy and productive means that our trees can keep on giving, before and even after they’re harvested. Here’s how.

1. Wood, like the forests it comes from, helps reduce climate change

While trees grow, they absorb carbon from the atmosphere. Trees harvested to make long-lasting, durable wood products such as buildings and furniture store this carbon for the life of the product. This helps mitigate the effects of climate change. And new trees growing to replace those harvested continue the process, capturing carbon as they mature.

2. Building with wood is better for the environment than other materials

Using wood for building uses less energy, emits fewer greenhouse gases, and releases fewer pollutants into the air and water than using steel and concrete, both of which are energy- and resource-intensive to produce. Wood can also improve the energy efficiency of most buildings.

Compared to wood

Steel...

  • Consumes 12% more energy
  • Emits 15% more greenhouse gases
  • Releases 10% more pollutants into the air
  • Generates 300% more water pollutants

Concrete...

  • Consumes 20% more energy
  • Emits 29% more greenhouse gases
  • Releases 12% more pollutants into the air
  • Generates 225% more water pollutants

3. Wood allows us to reduce, reuse, recycle, and recover waste

Sawmilling residues such as wood chips, bark and sawdust account for 56% of the volume of wood that goes into a lumber mill for processing. Instead of being thrown out, this “waste” can be made into paper, engineered wood products, industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals, clothing, personal care products and bioenergy. In Canada, bioenergy is primarily sourced from wood residues and sometimes from dead or damaged timber.

Sawmill residues or waste are made into

Icon of a house signifying the engineered wood products Engineered wood products

Icon of a door and a car part representing particleboard and fibremats Particleboard and fibremats

Icon of pages of paper representing paper and packaging Paper and packaging

Icon of a folded shirt signifying clothing Clothing

Icon of a chemical container signifying the biobased chemicals and materials Biobased chemicals and materials

Icon of a pylon signifying the electricity Electricity

Icon of a fireplace signifying the heat Heat

4. Innovative wood products and energy bring new green options to the economy

Today, wood and wood residues go into making bioplastics, long-lasting, hard-wearing composite materials, “green” chemicals and bioenergy – all renewable, low-carbon alternatives to conventional materials and fossil fuels. The result? Significant contributions to a cleaner, greener economy.

5. Wood helps keep small and remote communities thriving

Locally sourced timber harvesting and wood processing provide hundreds of Canada’s small communities – including many Indigenous communities – with jobs, local investment in infrastructure and social programs, and opportunities for clean technology development.

 
Source

Canadian Wood Council. 2010. Energy and the Environment in Residential Construction. Sustainable Building Series, 1.