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Expanding Market Opportunities for New Mexico Wood

Innovative Project for Improving New Mexico's Forests Wins Major Grant

Source Verified Good Wood™ (“GoodWood®”), an innovative verification and marketing program designed to improve the health of New Mexico’s forests, has been awarded significant funding from the USDA Forest Service, Southwestern Region. The award is for a three-year Collaborative Forest Restoration Program (CFRP) grant to the program founder, Rachel Wood, in support of the proposal titled Expanding Market Opportunities for New Mexico Wood. It builds on the success of a 2016 project which established the GoodWood program with CFRP support. 

GoodWood verifies the source location and sustainable practices used to harvest trees on Forest Service, tribal, private, and state trust lands. 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. Only then can a product be labeled and marketed as GoodWood

Consumers can be confident that products labeled as GoodWood come from trees harvested for the purpose of restoring and protecting New Mexico forests and have been harvested using best management practices aimed at optimizing the ecological and social benefits of forest thinning, while minimizing any potential adverse impacts. By purchasing products carrying the GoodWood brand, consumers can actively support forest restoration. A win-win-win for the environment, communities, forests, and people.

Over the next three years the GoodWood team will work to open new markets for New Mexico’s wood products and wood producers. In particular, the team will: 

  • Advocate for recognition of GoodWood under New Mexico and national green building program standards (http://www.buildgreennm.com/)
  • Launch a New Mexico "Buy Local" forest products program
  • Develop an affordable lumber, beam, and viga grading program for use with these forest products
  • Update viga span charts and have them qualified in New Mexico’s building code regulations

These markets for sustainable forest products are currently closed to most New Mexico producers as well as to wood harvested from Forest Service land. Opening these higher value markets will increase the value of small diameter trees, ideally leading to reducing the cost to thin our forests and allowing more of our forests to be thinned, reducing wildfire risk and improving watershed health. 

The vision of the GoodWood program is of vibrant, healthy, and sustainable forest ecosystems that will continue to enhance peoples’ lives for generations into the future. By expanding market opportunities for New Mexico wood products, the program incorporates market-driven solutions that support continued progress towards that vision.

Since 2001, the CFRP has funded over 200 projects that involved close to 600 partners in planning and implementing collaborative forest restoration and small diameter utilization projects in 20 counties across New Mexico. These projects have restored over 33,000 acres and created over 750 jobs. At the heart of the CFRP is the recognition that social objectives such as involving a diverse range of stakeholders, increasing the utilization of small diameter trees, and creating forest-related local employment are essential to restoring and protecting our forest ecosystems.

Rachel Wood has spent over 20 years as a consulting forester and is a certified forester through the Society of American Foresters (#2029). She has also completed over 200 Forest Stewardship Council Chain-of-Custody (CoC) audits throughout the United States contracting with the Rainforest Alliance. Combining her forestry and CoC expertise she, with the assistance of a dynamic team, created the GoodWood program. The team includes Dovetail Partners Inc., Promise PCES, the Forest Stewards Guild, National Wild Turkey Federation, the Cibola and Santa Fe National Forests, the Pueblo of Jemez, and owners of mills and forest restoration companies.

To learn more, visit www.goodwoodverified.com

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