Cover photo for Building the Climate-Smart Wood Economy

Building the Climate-Smart Wood Economy

Sustainable Northwest,
U.S. Department of Agriculture

This project brings together Tribal, small family forest, and nonprofit wood producers with data scientists and the design and construction industry to manage and restore tens of thousands of acres in Oregon. The project will quantify the positive impacts of climate-smart management on carbon sequestration, wildfire intensity, and cultural values, and will also build resources for project teams to navigate climate-smart markets for wood procurement through pre-design, design, and construction phases and support sale.

Carbon impacts of climate-smart timber purchasing is planned to be estimated by comparing the difference in carbon intensity for participating landowners against regional benchmarks of the carbon intensity of commodity timber production from industrial forestlands. Forest biomass and carbon stocks are planned to be measured using satellite imagery.

A simple user-friendly web application is also planned to be scoped and developed to deliver carbon impact metrics per unit of roundwood which can then be converted into carbon impacts for specific end-products. The project work plans to recognize and make accessible the entirety of the Pacific Northwest climate-smart timber supply chain, track and trace the flow of fiber from source forests, through mills and processing, and into ten construction projects.

To allow the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) community to differentiate between wood products based on forest carbon and associated ecosystem impacts, the project plans to build a simple, user-friendly web application that covers the contiguous U.S. This tool is planned to be designed with input from the intended end users, the AEC community, to ensure meeting their needs and providing them with an easy to use solution.

In addition, contract payments to sawmills is planned to drive participation to grow transparency and data about log supply, as well as offer price premiums for sales of climate-smart wood to an interested buyer. Landowner sales incentives are planned to offer a premium to landowners for selling their wood to a participating sawmill.

Producer payments are planned to focus on tribal partners, supporting culturally informed forest restoration work that partners would like to pursue on ancestral lands. Ecotrust also plans to engage in technical assistance and co-production of forest impact assessment deep dives involving Measurement, Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MMRV) activities with several tribes.

These deep dives will characterize embodied carbon and other quantifiable impacts associated with tribal forest management. The intent of these deep dives is to increase tribal capacity and readiness to engage in marketing of tribal timber as a climate-smart commodity.



Financial Instrument


Total Program Funding


Updated December 21, 2023

Image Credit: Pixabay

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