MEADVILLE, Pa., Sept. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- At a news conference today, researchers from Allegheny College released a new directory to help link supply and demand for "green" forest products in Pennsylvania. Ten years ago, Pennsylvania became a national leader in third-party certification of forest management. In 1997-98, Pennsylvania became the first state to certify more than two million acres of state forests under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) system. With more than 40 wood processing facilities certified to handle wood produced under the FSC principles and criteria, Pennsylvania's entire forest industry has made a significant commitment to certification. Despite the potential for certification to contribute to conservation- oriented economic development, links between certified forest product supply and demand remain weak. The strongest demand for certified wood products comes from builders adhering to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) principles promoted by the U.S. Green Building Council. In the first year of a three-year joint project of Allegheny College's Center for Economic and Environmental Development (CEED), the Rainforest Alliance, and The Wilderness Society, efforts are being made to both understand the causes of the problem and to develop practical solutions. Research conducted this summer shows considerable "leakage" throughout the certified supply chain as wood moves from the forest to sawmills and secondary processors. "While groups such as the Green Building Alliance, the Green Building Association of Central Pennsylvania, and the Delaware Valley Green Building Council have helped to make Pennsylvania a national leader in LEED-certified building construction, the Commonwealth lags behind other states with respect to scoring points in LEED's rating system for using FSC-certified wood products," says Allegheny College Environmental Science Professor Terrence Bensel, Co-Director of the Northwest Pennsylvania Sustainable Forestry Project. "The directory released today will provide critical information that will connect environmentally conscious buyers and sellers and reduce or eliminate one of the most significant hurdles: finding sources for certified wood products," says Bensel. There are other problems, of course, for Pennsylvania's "green building" movement, which the 3-year project will endeavor to address. During the remaining 30 months of the collaboration, the group will continue activities such as conducting market research, providing group certification training, and distributing fact sheets for sourcing FSC-certified wood. The following Web sites provide additional information about sustainable forestry and related topics: - Certified Forest Products Council: http://www.certifiedwood.org - Forest Stewardship Council: http://www.fscus.org - Rainforest Alliance SmartWood Program: http://www.smartwood.org - Scientific Certification Systems: http://www.scs1.com - Center for Economic and Environmental Development: http://ceed.allegheny.edu Allegheny College, where 2,000 students with unusual combinations of interests, skills and talents excel. Discover Allegheny at http://www.allegheny.edu .
SOURCE Allegheny College