Sunday, June 26, 2011

“Buy Local” Quality Seal for Forest Industry Announced at Heyes Forest Products in Orange, MA

“Buy Local” Quality Seal for Forest Industry
Announced at Heyes Forest Products in Orange, MA

Scott Soares, MDAR Commissioner
Referencing more than 300 years 
that farming, fishing and forestry 
have been indispensable to New 
England's landscape and economy, 
Massachusetts Department of 
Agriculture Commissioner Scott Soares 
unveiled the new Quality Seal for 
Forest Products before environmental, 
agricultural and forestry officials as well 
as industry leaders and local well-wishers gathered at Heyes Forest 
Products in Orange, MA. 
The Quality Seal for Forest Products 
is intended to replicate the success 
of the Buy Local campaign for food 
products with locally grown and 
harvested forest products.

“Forest products have always been part of 
a rich, diverse agricultural history in Massachusetts,” 
Commissioner Soares commented. “Commonwealth Quality provides 
consumers an assurance that they are receiving a product that was 
harvested and manufactured in Massachusetts using sustainable 
practices that promote responsible land management.”

Heyes Forest Products display

"What we hope it will do is 
provide the industry the ability 
to increase its marketability based 
on the standards of operation 
they employ,” Soares added.

The seal will also be made 
available for locally grown 
and sustainably harvested 
cord wood.

Andy Finton, Nature Conservancy
Andy Finton, director of conservation 
science for The Nature Conservancy 
in Massachusetts, stated that locally grown 
wood products help support local foresters 
and harvesters, and encourages family 
forest owners to keep their forest as 
forest and protect wildlife habitat.

“Some areas of our state are 90 percent 
forested with many small communities tucked into vast swaths of 
canopy cover,” Finton explained. 
“We have over 3 million acres of forest in Massachusetts
Relative to our size, we’re the eighth most forested state.”

"One advantage we owe to our forests is exceptional 
water quality. Towns like Springfield and Pittsfield rely 
on reservoirs that are shielded by the Berkshire forests,” 
Finton stated. “Our water in Boston is protected 
by forests around the Quabbin reservoir. And these 
forests also sequester large amounts of carbon. 
In fact, forests in the Northeast absorb 12 to 15 percent 
of the carbon put into our atmosphere.”

“With so many landowners living in such close proximity 
to desirable forestland, development pressures are intense. 
The need for both protection and good stewardship is essential,” Finton stated.

The gathering included environmental, agricultural, forestry & wood products officials as well as local well-wishers. 

“The Nature Conservancy has long believed that the forest products economy 
is an important part of the conservation equation, and we see the Commonwealth 
Quality program as a useful strategy for sustainable forest resource management 
in Massachusetts.”

Fred Heyes
Fred Heyes, the owner/operator of one of five 
designated Commonwealth Quality suppliers, 
spoke of the future of farms and forests in Massachusetts 
being dependent on developing a demand for local products. 
Heyes’ 42-year-old wholesale and retail business sells 
2.5 million feet of lumber and specialty products locally, 
as well as around New England and beyond.

“Very little of the wood each of us consumes in Massachusetts 
is locally grown,” Heyes commented. “Less than 5% of wood 
products purchased in Massachusetts are from Massachusetts forests.”

Click to enlarge
To show this point a tall pine tree was displayed whole 
but cut into logs, pulp and residuals and representing 
the average annual usage of forest products for each and 
every person, each year. Also displayed next to the tree 
was a pile of boards equal to the board feet in that tree, 
and on top of that pile a very small pile of boards equal 
to the 5% of our needs we now source locally.

David Short of Amherst Woodworking & Supply, Inc. 
in Northampton, another Commonwealth Quality supplier, 
spoke of the difference between the carbon footprint created from the molding and 
flooring manufactured within 40 miles which had been logged, sawn, dried and 
supplied from Heyes Forest Products versus 
products grown in China such as bamboo - 
which is actually a grass. Short explained that
these products are marketed as “green” 
despite the fact that the bamboo is grown 
where there is little to no environmental
standards and is a highly industrialized
product that has an enormous carbon 
footprint due to its transport to markets 
around the globe.

Additional Commonwealth Quality suppliers, 
not present, include Gurney’s Sawmill, East Freetown, Specialty Wood Products in Cheshire,
and W. R. Robinson Lumber, Wheelwright.

Following the presentation, state officials, 
foresters and other visitors boarded a bus 
for a tour of a one of the many forested 
areas owned by Heyes that is protected 
under a state Fisheries and Wildlife 
conservation restriction, and enrolled in the 
Chapter 61 tax program. The 357 acre parcel, 
harvested regularly during the last 20 years had 
been thinned three years earlier and provided 
an excellent demonstration of the long-term 
land management he practices for an increasing 
forest crop assuring also the protection of both 
water quality and wildlife habitat.

Fred Heyes led the tour of his conservation restricted forest
For further information on the Quality Seal 
brand for Massachusetts grown, harvested 
and processed products - using practices that 
are safe, sustainable and don’t harm the 
environment - 

Photo Credit and Story: Genevieve Fraser

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