The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) welcomes action taken on November 1st by the House of Representatives in passing the Resilient Federal Forests Act (H.R. 2936), which helps protect the national forest system by implementing best practices intended to reduce and eliminate the threat of wildfires. It is a major victory for NLBMDA who strongly supports passage of the legislation. The legislation follows a very active wildfire season in the U.S. that ravaged nearly 9 million acres.
In addition, the legislation includes a provision from the Timber Innovation Act (H.R. 1380) that will establish a performance driven research and development program for advancing tall wood building construction in the United States. The legislation passed along Party lines by a vote of 232 to 184.
“The Resilient Federal Forests Act supports greater sustainable harvesting from federal forests as part of a comprehensive forest management plan,” said Jonathan Paine, NLBMDA President and CEO. “NLBMDA is pleased with action taken by the House and also its support for the Timber Innovation Act’s research and development provision.”
Over 190 million acres is managed by the U.S. Forest Service. Of this, 46 million acres is designated as allowable for timber harvest. Timber harvests from federal forests declined by 78 percent between 1987 and 2015, from 11.3 to 2.5 billion board feet. This is far below the long-term, sustainable capability of these lands of 12.2 billion board feet per year.
Poor land management during the past 30 years has led to declining health of national forests. This has resulted in fewer jobs and productivity in the forestry sector, fewer board feet of domestically produced lumber entering the market, and a marked increase in acreage ravaged by insects, disease and fire.
“The House passing this federal forest management initiative is a big win for NLBMDA,” said Rick Lierz, President and CEO of Franklin Building Supply in Boise, Idaho, and NLBMDA Chair. “We look forward to working with the Senate in addressing this important issue to the lumber and building material industry.”