New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF) announced the official launch of its Forest-to-Cities Climate Challenge, NEFF’s newest initiative and a key component of their climate program. It calls on participants to help reduce the climate crisis and create a more livable New England by joining forces to maximize the climate benefits of forests and wood construction. 

Photo courtesy of New England Forestry Foundation

According to NEFF, “The initiative is an explicitly cooperative undertaking that calls on humanity’s ability to enact change through collective movements.”

The Climate Challenge asks stakeholders—from the forests where the wood is grown to the cities where people will live in tall wood buildings—to voice unified support by signing a simple pledge. The pledge articulates how we can use New England’s forests and mass timber construction to grow, build, and live in a way that combats climate change and benefits both rural and urban communities:

We support using New England’s forests and building with wood to fight climate change.

New England Forestry Foundation

Each segment of the supply chain has a unique role to play in helping bring this vision to reality—landowners and foresters can commit to practicing climate-friendly forestry, architects can educate clients about the aesthetic and environmental benefits of mass timber, and policy-makers can develop incentives that will drive the use of more sustainable construction materials. NEFF is working to foster a community among the growing group of people who have signed the Forest-to-Cities pledge to identify the common actions that will place sustainably-sourced mass timber at the heart of hundreds of new construction projects in our region.

NEFF’s ultimate goal is to help shape an economic system that links mass timber buildings in New England with the local forests that sustainably generate the wood for them. Highstead Foundation President David Foster was one of the authors of a New York Times Op-Ed that highlighted the advantages of building with local timber.