Position Statements

Carbon in the Built Environment: Managing for Carbon Across the Entire Forest Supply Chain


To provide information on the value of using harvested wood products (HWPs) in the built environment, to mitigate climate change, and to impart guidance on measuring and managing carbon across the entire forest-sector supply chain.


The role of US forestlands and forest products in reducing atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the context of increased demands on natural resources. 


Forests and forest products play a key role in the bioeconomy, which is an increasingly important strategy to reduce global reliance on non-renewable resources and thereby limit the amount of GHG emissions in the atmosphere. The bioeconomy relies on biologically based materials, such as harvested wood products, to lessen the amount of fossil fuel used to produce energy, food, construction materials, and other manufactured goods. Increased HWP use, especially in construction with mass timber products, is being viewed as a climate solution to replace more energy-intensive materials. 

The Society of American Foresters (SAF) supports increasing the substitution of more energy-intensive materials with HWPs. To do this relies on well managed forests to deliver sustained HWPs. It is important to understand the full systematic impact of carbon at all levels of the forest value chain, from carbon flux in the forest (incorporating climate-induced uncertainty in terrestrial carbon stores) to carbon storage in HWPs to substitution benefits. Science-based sustainable forest management provides the foundation for meeting the increased demand for wood products while maintaining forestland area and forest ecosystem services.

Approved: October 2023

Download Full Position Statement

Download Briefer