Let’s Get Real about Wood’s Carbon Footprint , 75 minutes

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You’ve probably heard that wood products are carbon neutral. You might also have heard that timber harvesting causes immense carbon emissions.

Which is it?

Could it be both?

This on-demand webcast investigates these questions and others, using a scientific lens to examine wood’s carbon footprint.

Note: this content will be most helpful to design and construction professionals with advanced knowledge of embodied carbon, whole-building LCA, and related topics. The expert panelists explore questions like:

  • Why is it so hard to measure the global warming potential of mass timber and other products made with renewable materials?

  • What can life-cycle assessment of wood products tell us?

  • What CAN’T life-cycle assessment of wood products tell us?

  • What’s the justification for treating wood as “carbon neutral” in LCA, and should we keep doing that?

  • With our forests increasingly under threat from climate change, is now the right time to ramp up production of mass timber?

After this webinar, you should be able to:

  • Apply multiple lenses when considering the climate impacts of mass timber and other wood products.
  • Define “biogenic carbon” and understand its importance to assessing the sustainability of mass timber and other wood products. 
  • Consider the assumptions behind carbon-neutrality claims made about wood products, including what “sustainably sourced” means in the context of those claims.
  • Foster a holistic view of forestry product sustainability that includes the resilience of forests to climate change impacts.


Stephanie Carlisle leads the collaborative development of open-access LCA data, tools, and methods to support the building sector in radically decarbonizing construction. Her work brings together diverse stakeholders from design, industry, and policy to find new approaches to climate justice. She has spent the last decade moving between design practice, research, and education, focusing on making LCA part of mainstream design practice. 

Reid is studying the intersection of forest disturbance, climate impacts, and active management. Raised under the beautiful ponderosa pine forests near Flagstaff, Arizona, Reid hopes his work can help us steward the forests we love in the face of our shared climate crisis.


Amlan joined WAP following 18 years as a Professor of Civil Engineering at Michigan Tech. He has been a member of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Sustainable Pavements Technical Working Group since its inception and facilitated the implementation of the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for the North American asphalt industry. In the last two years, he served as a Life Cycle Assessment Specialist at the FHWA, supporting the Climate Challenge team. He also serves on the Acquisition Policy Federal Advisory Committee for the General Services Administration. He has worked closely with the Federal LCA Commons in developing a repository for background data and data quality assessments and played a leading role in developing the American Center for Life Cycle Assessment (ACLCA) Product Category Rule Guidance: Process and Methods Toolkit.

Elaine oversees science and sustainability at CORRIM, a university research consortium that has spent 26 years conducting life cycle inventory and life cycle assessments on wood products from cradle to grave. She also supports small forest landowners as the Executive Director of the Washington Farm Forestry Association. She has spent nearly 40 years in the forest sector, including operational forestry and management, conducting research on climate change, timber supply modeling and analysis, forest carbon dynamics, life cycle assessment of forest operations and wood products, and integrating these elements within a policy and economic framework that works for small forest landowners.