Friday, 10 June 2022
Promoting Transparency in Wood Sourcing
Demand for transparency into forest supply chains is growing, particularly for mass timber buildings where a significant portion of the total materials budget relates to forest products. When wood use is justified as a climate solution, the need to dig into sourcing increases further.
One strategy to collect better information and evaluate wood options is to submit a questionnaire to companies offering bids for a wood package as part of a construction project. This process would typically be managed by the general contractor, although the architect or owner/developer could also play a role. The questions are designed to assist in a comparative and competitive bid evaluation of the climate smart and ecological impact characteristics of the sourced timber.
1. Is the material from a certified forest, sourced through a chain-of-custody certified supply chain?
2. If certification is being provided, please specify which certification is used and provide back-up details of this certification for review.
3. Is there a source forest-specific study documenting the carbon stock change on the forest landscape divided by the timber output over time, for the timber material being provided?
4. If a source forest specific carbon stock change report is not available, please provide written answers and documentation for the following additional questions:
- Confirm that no rare old-growth or forest conversion is included within the sourced material. Please share documentation of the material sourcing control, and the forest management plan details for the source forest, if available.
- Has the source forest been used to generate independently verified forest carbon credits? If so, please describe and provide documentation of the credit restrictions.
- Please share satellite photo images less than 5 years old along with geo-located GIS polygons for the source forest showing the forest management unit(s) where timber has been harvested for the project, and the year when harvesting has occurred.
- Please characterize the silviculture used on the source forest. What practices does the forest manager use to mitigate the impacts of climate change and increase resiliency for the forest ecosystem? If available, include the forest management plans stream buffers, the controls to protect soils and biodiversity, the controls to protect the habitat for any rare, threatened, or endangered plant or animal species that occur on the source forestland, and the controls to prevent excessive soil erosion.
- What are the rotation lengths between final harvests at the source forests? Does the forest manager use pre-commercial or commercial thinning to enhance forest quality?
- What other characteristics does this source forest land include that makes its management climate smart and why?
While not all wood suppliers will have the information requested above, the questionnaire reflects a growing interest in transparency back to source forests.