NHLA is honoring World Environment Day by exploring a few of the endless ways in which hardwood forests support and sustain our health, economy, and planet. We support and celebrate our members’ tremendous dedication to sustainable forestry and production practices at every level of the hardwood supply chain. Below, we have outlined a few of our forests’ key benefits, but these just scratch at the surface when it comes to the role that trees and forests play in our lives.
Trees Benefit Our Health
- People who live in areas with more trees are in better health than people who do not. Studies have shown that living near green spaces can positively affect individual health so much that it can equate to being up to 7 years younger.¹
- Having access to green environments is correlated with increased physical activity, as well as reduced stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms. Green environments are also connected to an increased willingness to engage in social connection, all of which lead to better mental and physical health overall.²
- Hospital patients who have access to nature, or who simply have a view of a tree-lined landscape, have shorter and better post-operative recovery periods and need fewer potent pain killers than those who do not.³
Trees Benefit Our Economy
- Hardwood products added $348.1 billion in value to the US economy in 2016, and account for 1.8 million jobs across the United States.4
- Sectors related to the hardwood lumber industry, including transportation, retail, forest ownership, and logging, support more than 1.1 million jobs and add $212 billion to the economy.4
- Trees enhance economic stability by attracting businesses and consumers; people linger, shop longer, and are willing to pay more for products when trees are present.5
Trees Benefit Our Planet
- Turning trees into usable logs and wood products allow massive amounts of carbon to remain sequestered in the wood instead of being released into the atmosphere.6
- Forests provide a safe home for over 80% of wildlife, and forests provide both wildlife and people a wide variety of nutrient dense food sources.7
- Wooden building products are renewable, sustainable, and offer a cost-effective alternative to traditional building products. Hardwood cross-laminated timber has the potential to replace materials like steel, cement, or bricks, and the use of hardwood CLT in place of traditional building materials greatly reduces the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere.8
¹ Kardan, Omid, et al. “Neighborhood Greenspace and Health in a Large Urban Center.” Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 9 July 2015, www.nature.com/articles/srep11610.
² Dean, Julie H, et al. “Is Nature Relatedness Associated with Better Mental and Physical Health?.” International journal of environmental research and public health vol. 15,7 1371. 29 Jun. 2018, doi:10.3390/ijerph15071371
³ Huismana, E.R.C.M. et al. “Healing Environment: A Review of the Impact of Physical Environmental Factors on Users.” Building and Environment, Pergamon, 11 July 2012, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360132312001758.
4 Hardwood Federation (2019). Hardwood Industry Economic Impact Study. Retrieved from http://www.hardwoodfederation.com/Hardwood-Industry-Economic-Impact
5 Wolf, Kathleen. Business District Streetscapes, Trees, and Consumer Response. Journal of Forestry, Dec. 2005, www.naturewithin.info/CityBiz/BizTreesAll_JFor.pdf.
6 Sherrill, Sam et al. Estimates of Carbon Dioxide Withheld from the Atmosphere by Urban Hardwood Products, Dovetail Partners Inc., March 2018, http://www.dovetailinc.org/dovetailurbanwood318.pdf.
7 Powell, Bronwen et al. “The role of forests, trees and wild biodiversity for nutrition-sensitive food systems and landscapes,” Center for International Forestry Research, 2013. Retrieved from http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/agn/pdf/Powelletal_ICN21_ForestsandTreesforNutritionSensitive_FINAL_NoEndnote.pdf.
8 “Hardwood Cross Laminated Timber.” Www.surfacesreporter.com, Surfaces Reporter, 21 Dec. 2017, www.surfacesreporter.com/articles/10509/hardwood-cross-laminated-timber.