Sustainable Wood Procurement

July 10, 2013

Wood procurement organizations in the forest products industry face rigorous demands to demonstrate compliance with rapidly evolving standards of environmental performance and sustainability while meeting cost and quality objectives in dynamic global markets. Because wood procurement is a complex process, there is a need to take a “systems view” of wood procurement when developing technical information. Examples of focus areas where information is needed include: (1) quantifying “environmental footprints” of wood procurement organizations in the context of life-cycle analyses with emphasis on environmental aspects related to energy efficiency, greenhouse gases, water resources, and biodiversity; (2) reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in forest products value chains with emphasis on increasing efficiency in wood harvesting, transportation, handling and storage and improving the quality of delivered wood so as to reduce energy consumption in manufacturing; and, (3) evaluating the current and potential effects of selected constraints on management in forest certification standards, chain of custody, and other “green market” mechanisms on the efficiency, productivity and environmental performance of wood procurement organizations.

Below are examples of some recent or ongoing tasks related to this topic:

  • Wood Procurement Initiative – NCASI will seek to address key information needs related to sustainable wood procurement and environmental issues that may influence wood/fiber supplies. NCASI staff will monitor scientific and regulatory literature, discuss potential research partnerships with industry associations, provide technical support to member companies, their associations, and other industry groups as needed.
  • Technical Support for Implementation of Certification Programs – NCASI is collaborating with NatureServe and others to conduct a field test of a habitat-based approach to conserving imperiled species and communities and to develop sample educational material that wood procurement organizations could use to inform family forest owners about potential conservation approaches.
  • Determining Optimum Water Storage Conditions for Roundwood – NCASI has recently supported research to 1) develop methods for measuring moisture content of roundwood stored on “wet decks”, 2) document roundwood quality response to time wood has been in wet storage, and 3) evaluate response of roundwood moisture content and wood quality over time to different water application rates for pine logs.
  • Factors Affecting Fuel Consumption and Harvesting Costs – NCASI is collaborating with the Wood Supply Research Institute to support 1) a literature review and analysis to document and explore the relationship between fuel consumption (gallons/ton) across a range of conditions (e.g., harvest intensity, slope / terrain, volume, region, equipment), and 2) collect new data documenting machine productivity and fuel consumption to update data from the literature and to fill in data gaps identified during the literature review. Specific conditions relative to harvest conditions, harvesting system, and machine characteristics (e.g., age, condition, horsepower, and drive train) will be documented.