Compiled by Rachel Bean
Rachel Wood, a longtime Guild member and professional forester, saw a need for a new kind of wood products market in New Mexico. Markets for sustainable forest goods were closed to most local producers as well as to wood harvested from Forest Service land. Rachel envisioned an innovative verification and marketing program designed to improve the health of Southwestern forests, so in 2016 she applied for and received Collaborative Forest Restoration Project (CFRP) funding to launch Source Verified Good Wood™ (GoodWood™).
GoodWood™ verifies the source location and sustainable practices used to harvest trees on Forest Service, tribal, private, and state trust lands. This process ensures that the firewood, lumber, vigas, latillas, and other products bearing the GoodWood™ logo are guaranteed to have come from a project which is restoring watersheds, reducing wildfire risk, and buoying local economies in the Land of Enchantment. Once verified, a chain-of-custody system is used to track wood products from the forest through the supply chain to the consumer, ensuring that sustainable practices are followed.
As one element of expanding the market for locally sourced and -sold forest products, GoodWood™ set its sights on ensuring that member products would be included in New Mexico’s premier green building industry. In January of this year, GoodWood™ and collaborators announced a partnership with Build Green New Mexico (BGNM) in an innovative effort to support the use of responsibly harvested wood products.
BGNM inspects and rates buildings in four categories: Energy, Water, Indoor Air Quality, and Sustainability; and awards four levels of certification: Code-plus, Silver, Gold, and Emerald. Builders who use GoodWood™ products can now earn points towards Gold or Emerald certification with BGNM, making them eligible to receive the transferrable Sustainable Building Tax Credit (SBTC). Administered by New Mexico’s state forestry division, SBTC is one of few such programs in the nation.
GoodWood™ fits perfectly with BGNM’s goal of figuring out how to source more building materials locally and sustainably. All partners involved in this initiative, including the Forest Stewards Guild, believe in the tagline – GoodWood™ is a good idea – and are excited to see the immediate and long-term benefits to builders, producers, forest workers, forests, and the economy alike.