Embodied Carbon

Actionable data to facilitate market connections for climate-smart wood producers

Project partners:

   2014 – Present

An old growth stump at Raincloud Tree Farm. Photo credit: Megan Foucht

In the building industry, the term “embodied carbon” is used to refer to greenhouse gas emissions arising from the manufacturing, transportation, installation, maintenance, and disposal of building materials.

In recent years, climate-conscious design and build professionals have been increasingly interested in new wood products such as cross laminated timber as a climate-positive alternative to materials like concrete and steel. And yet, despite rapid innovations among concrete and steel producers to differentiate from each other and compete by reducing their carbon footprints, the forest sector has not generally kept up on the premise “all wood is good.”

By leveraging the growing trove of satellite imagery and forest monitoring systems, we are generating and delivering actionable data for green builders to better understand how different forest owners, management approaches, and regions compare in terms of the climate and community impacts associated with the timber they produce.

View of the Columbia River from the Sentinel-2 satellite mission. Photo credit: Copernicus Sentinel data 2020, accessed. Google Earth Engine

In addition to data crunching to increase transparency in the forest sector, we are also working to help shape and direct the purchasing power of the building industry towards landowners who deliver on social and environmental benefits in addition to the timber they produce.

In particular, we are working to spotlight the exceptional work of tribes in our region who are demonstrating what leadership on climate-smart forestry grounded in community looks like. More generally, we are working to help better align our markets with our values, helping the forest sector and the building industry do a better job of seeing and rewarding those forest owners who stand out from the crowd by drawing more carbon out of the atmosphere, protecting cultural resources and honoring Indigenous rights, enhancing habitat for fish and wildlife, improving air and water quality, and bolstering climate and community resilience.


Project Partners


A global collective of designers, engineering and sustainability consultants, advisors and experts dedicated to sustainable development

Based at the University of Washington, CLF accelerates the transformation of the building sector to radically reduce the life cycle emissions of materials, or embodied carbon of buildings, and infrastructure through collective action.

A group of environmental, scientific, green building, and forestry leaders focused on differentiating the climate values of forest management choices

A nationwide organization that sets standards for forest management and forest products that provide a high rate of environmental, social, and environmental benefit

A multi-disciplinary structural and civil engineering firm that offers an array of expertise related to structural integrity, project design, planning, and more

A sustainable architectural design firm with offices in Seattle and San Diego

Based in the Northwest, NNRG is an ecological think- and do-tank that is working to strengthen the ecological and economic vitality of forests and communities by connecting people with the knowledge, skills, and markets they need to steward their land.

Bringing entrepreneurial solutions to natural resources challenges to keep lands healthy and provide economic and community benefits

An international nonprofit that includes a focus on forests as a means of protecting wildlife habitat 

A sustainable architecture and design firm with seven offices across North America

Mass timber cross beams at Oregon State University Cascade’s Edward J. Ray Hall. Photo courtesy of Oregon State University

Forest Embodied Carbon Technical Advisory Committee


With representation from across the forest science, industry, products, and academic sectors, the Technical Advisory Committee came together with the goal of producing credible datasets and methods for monitoring and reporting observable forest (carbon) impacts and characterizing impacts using accessible and actionable indicators.

Stephanie Carlisle

Carbon Leadership Forum

Richard Birdsey

Woodwell Climate Research Center

Dr. Birdsey is a specialist in forest inventories and has pioneered development of methods to estimate carbon budgets for forest lands from forest inventory data. He retired from the U.S. Forest Service as a “Distinguished Scientist” and Program Manager for global change research in the Northern Research Station and is currently a senior scientist at the Woodwell Climate Research Center. He also advises the Forest Service Office of Sustainability and Climate on matters regarding forests and carbon. He developed the first greenhouse gas inventory of U.S. forests which became the model for the annual inventory of forests produced by the Forest Service and EPA. He was a lead author of two Special Reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. He was a lead author of the first North American “State of the Carbon Cycle” report and a member of the science team guiding the second report, published in 2018. He recently worked with a Forest Service team and the National Forest System to implement carbon assessments for all of the U.S. National Forests. He is currently working with the World Resources Institute and other partners to assist U.S. Counties and communities with including forests as part of their greenhouse gas inventories and climate change mitigation strategies.

Scott Conway

Vibrant Planet

Scott brings a unique combination of natural resource education, training, and management experience to forest and fuels management challenges. Scott is a 20-year U.S. Forest Service veteran in land management that included a diverse set of roles including District Ranger, Spatial Ecologist, Silviculturist, and Forester. Scott’s perspective and work was highlighted in a recent New Yorker article. After leaving the USFS in 2019, Scott ran a land management consulting practice focused on innovative, collaborative land management approaches. He brings this practice and his rich set of experiences with him to Vibrant Planet.

Katharyn Duffy

Vibrant Planet

Dr. Katharyn Duffy has worked at the intersection of forest carbon, wildfire dynamics and EcoInformatics (ecology and ‘big data’) for >10 years. She is the lead author on the forthcoming VERRA methodology Management for Fire-Adapted Forests (public comment period August 2022). Katharyn’s research focuses on the response of forests (and carbon storage) to drought, climate, and wildfire through the lens of treated (or sustainably harvested) vs ‘no-action’.

In Kathryn’s words: I manage an organic peach orchard in traditional lands of Wasco, Wishram, and Chinook, known as Hood River, Ore. In the winter months I’ve worked on my masters thesis in environmental studies at Evergreen State College investigating how orchardists gather the information necessary to practice organically. I’ve recently accepted a board member position for Gorge Grown, a nonprofit working to build an inclusive and resilient food system. It is my intention to amplify voices of Black, Indigenous, and communities of color through this work and form bridges with other organizations. I mentor several youth in my community, connecting them to agriculture, tradition, and nature. I host volunteers and love to teach others about orchard management. I’m also part of an exciting new effort which is a Latina/o/x led organization working on environmental and social justice in the Columbia Gorge. I see important intersections between all these projects.

I hope this fellowship will support the momentum to continue to build those connections and develop new connections with others. I’m ready to listen deeply and share with other leaders on this journey to help uplift and support BIPOC folks supporting our food systems. I envision engaging deeply with each others’ work and building relationships with community.

Jacob Dunn

ZGF Architects

Jacob Dunn holds a Master’s Degree in Architecture from the University of Idaho and his professional background has pivoted between research, sustainability consulting, education, and architecture.  Now at ZGF architects, Jacob has been focusing on reducing the embodied carbon in building materials with a focus on procuring climate smart wood for mass timber projects with disclosure and transparency in the supply chain. He’s currently leading research projects with the University of Washington around developing new wood carbon calculators that address LCA data gaps around biogenic carbon in the forest and supply chain.

Edward D. Entsminger

Mississippi State University

Dr. Edward D. Entsminger is an Extension Associate III in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture (WFA) in the College of Forest Resources (CFR) at Mississippi State University (MSU). He is a wildlife and fisheries biologist and general ecologist, and his research has focused on prairies, reclamation sites, forested environments, wetlands, mowing on roadside right-of-ways, using ArcGIS mapping software, and researching vegetation and habitat structure for various fish and wildlife species like the white-tailed deer. He earned three Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degrees in Fish and Wildlife Management, Fish Management and Aquaculture, and Parks and Recreation and Wildlife Management from Hocking College in 2007 and 2009. Received a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Wildlife and Fish Conservation and Management from the University of Rio Grande in 2009. Earned a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Sciences in May 2014 and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Forest Resources in August 2022 both from Mississippi State University (MSU). Since 2015, he obtained and holds three professional society certifications as an Associate Wildlife Biologist (AWB ®), Associate Fisheries Professional (FP-A), and a Wetland Professional In Training (WPIT). He worked 9 years as a full-time Research Associate III within the Department of Sustainable Bioproducts and Forest and Wildlife Research Center (FWRC) at MSU, where he conducted research on testing materials destructively and non-destructively, wood anatomy identification, hardwood plywood bio-based adhesives, wood strand-based products, cross-laminated timbers (CLT), and various aspects of our sustainable and natural resources. He has over 19 years of education experience and over 23 years of job experience in the natural resources’ profession. Has been with the university for over 14 years. He has authored or co-authored more than 20 professional peer-reviewed research articles, a master’s thesis, one book chapter, several technical manuals, a doctoral dissertation, more than 35 popular articles, given 100’s of presentations, and has more than three journal articles in the peer-review process.

Thomas R. Fox


Tom Fox is Vice President at Rayonier and leads the Research, Productivity, Sustainability Team. He coordinates Rayonier’s’ research and technology transfer in silviculture and tree improvement, and oversees the ecosystem services and forest certification programs.  Prior to joining Rayonier, Tom was the Honorable Garland Gray Distinguished Professor of Forestry at Virginia Tech. He was also the Co-Director of the Forest Productivity Cooperative and the Site Director for the NSF Center for Advanced Forestry Systems. Dr. Fox was a Fulbright Scholar and Visiting Professor at Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile in Santiago, Chile.  Tom received a B.S. in Forestry and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Pulp and Paper Science from the University of Maine, a M.S. in Forest Soils from Virginia Tech and a Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Florida.  He is a Registered Professional Forester in Maine and Georgia, a SAF Certified Forester and a SSSA Certified Professional Soil Scientist. He received the Stephen Spurr Award for Research and the Barrington Moore Award for Research in Biological Sciences from the Society of American Foresters.  He is a Fellow in the Soil Science Society of America and the Society of American Foresters. 

Vaclav Hasik

Building Transparency

Vaclav Hasik is a Data Manager at Building Transparency, the non-profit organization behind the EC3 Tool. Vaclav was previously a sustainability analyst and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) expert at Urban Fabrick, where he managed projects pursuing LEED certification and helped design teams address embodied carbon through whole-building LCAs. Vaclav also worked as a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, where he was involved in university-wide carbon accounting, sustainability planning, and research on data and methods for LCA of buildings. He is an active member of the Carbon Leadership Forum and a founder of its San Francisco Bay Area hub.

Stephen S. Kelley

North Carolina State University

Dr. Steve Kelley is the Reuben B Robertson Professor of Forest Biomaterials at North Carolina State University. He is teaching or has taught classes in Sustainable Building Materials; Wood Chemistry; and Wood Composites. He has supervised or co-supervised more than 25 graduate students and postdoctoral associates working on bioenergy, biomaterials, environmental life cycle analysis, and technical and economic systems analysis and optimization. He currently serves as the co-chair of the NCSU Sustainability Council. He has also worked for the US DOE National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and in private industry for Eastman Chemical Co. He has served as a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, as the President of CORRIM, a nonprofit focused on using environmental life cycle analysis tools to evaluate wood-based materials, and as a Trustee with a private Foundation that uses impact investing to address challenges in early childhood education and health, and innovative forestry and farm systems.

Emi LaFountain

Turner Construction

Emi LaFountain is an engineer with Turner Construction and MSt candidate at the University of Cambridge. Prior to her current role in operations, she helped develop Turner’s national programs on embodied carbon and jobsite carbon emissions, including their goal to reduce jobsite carbon emissions and water consumption by 50% by 2030. Emi is active in Northern California as a founding member of the Bay Area Sustainable Construction Leaders group, and currently serves as a knowledge resource for Turner’s mass timber program, specializing in the procurement of sustainably grown and harvested wood products.

Kai Lan

Yale University

Dr. Kai Lan is a postdoc associate at the Center for Industrial Ecology, Yale School of the Environment, Yale University. He received his Ph.D. degree in Forest Biomaterials from North Carolina State University, a master degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, and a bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China. His research interests include developing modeling tools to evaluate and advance the systems related to sustainable energy and materials.

Anna Lasso

Building Transparency

Anna is the Digital Program Manager for Building Transparency and works to develop strategic partnerships and innovative environmental reporting solutions based on open source data formats for Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). Her current focus is developing, integrating, and scaling the openEPD standard digital format across EPD program operators to enable a way to consistently disclose the life cycle emission results of products in a credible, streamlined, and universally understood manner. Anna has provided transparency, sustainability and operations consulting services for 15+ years, led NA’s largest EPD Program for over seven years, chaired 25+ standards committees, and is a Life Cycle Assessment Certified Professional (LCACP). She has MS degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Technology Policy from MIT and BS degrees in Industrial Design and Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University.

Steve Prisley

National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI)

Steve is Principal Research Scientist with the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI).  He leads research and development in the areas of forest carbon assessments and the application of forest inventory data. Prior to joining NCASI, he taught GIS as a member of the forestry faculty at Virginia Tech, where he also conducted research in forest inventory, spatial modeling, and forest carbon assessment. While at Tech, he created and ran the Center for Natural Resources Assessment and Decision Support, conducting research into simulation modeling for wood supply analysis. Steve also held forest inventory management positions at Westvaco and Continental Forest Industries.  Dr. Prisley has served on the Second Blue Ribbon Panel on Forest Inventory and Analysis and the Forest Science and Technology Board of the Society of American Foresters, as well as being a lead author for two reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He received a BS in Forest Management, an MS in Forestry (Remote Sensing), and a PhD in Forest Geomatics from Virginia Tech.

Justin Schmal

Washington Department of Natural Resources

Justin Schmal is an environmental planner at the Washington State Department of Natural (DNR) resources and has been with the agency since 2011. At the DNR he has worked as a timber sales and compliance forester, implementation monitoring program manager, and most recently as the project lead on the DNR’s decadal sustainable harvest calculations. Prior to his state service he worked as a research assistant under Douglas Jacobs at Purdue University and holds a B.S. and M.S. in Forestry from Purdue.

Micah Stanovsky

Sustainable Northwest

Micah Stanovsky is Contracted Green Markets Manager with Sustainable Northwest, connecting the PNW construction industry to the people, forests, and impacts along the wood supply chain. Micah holds an MPA in Environmental Policy and MS in Environmental and Forest Sciences from the University of Washington, where he specialized in global wood products and illegal timber trade and supported product roll-out of the Xylotron machine vision wood identification tool. Micah worked in strategy development for a Seattle environmental philanthropy, conducting climate, deforestation and Nature-Based Solutions research. Micah worked 6 years as co-founder and Operations Director of Sawhorse Revolution, a Seattle nonprofit fostering confident, community-oriented youth through hands-on introduction to the design and construction trades.

person in blue top with long brown hair, smiling at camera

Jesce Walz


Jesce Walz is the Carbon and Circularity Research Lead at Perkins&Will. She approaches impact reduction from a systems perspective, with focus on regenerative design as well as carbon-storing and innovative materials. Through Perkins&Will’s Research Group, Jesce contributes to tool development, project design, case studies, Life Cycle Assessment methodology, and strategic initiatives to improve climate and health impacts across a broad portfolio of projects. Jesce has a background in both Architecture and Landscape Architecture and is actively engaged with the International Living Futures Institute, the American Institute of Architects, and the Carbon Leadership Forum.

Mike Wilson

Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde (retired)

Michael Wilson is a member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and a multi-generational forest worker in Oregon. He has worked as a tree planter, timber cruiser, fire fighter and many other jobs in the woods. Michael recently retired from his job with the Grand Ronde Tribes after 29 years, the last 15 as the Natural Resources Manager.  He holds an AS degree in Forest Technology, BS in Business from Linfield and MBA from George Fox.  Michael currently manages his consulting practice where he remains involved in a variety of natural resource issues focused primarily on promoting tribal rights and opportunities.

Yuan Yao

Yale University

Dr. Yuan Yao is an Assistant Professor of Industrial Ecology and Sustainable Systems at the Yale School of the Environment, Yale University. She received her Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University in the U.S. and a B.S. degree in Metallurgical Engineering from Northeastern University in China. She also has a Management for Scientists and Engineers from Kellogg School of Management. Her research investigates how biomass-derived products and advanced materials will affect the environment. She uses interdisciplinary approaches in industrial ecology, sustainable engineering, and machine learning to develop systems analysis tools to support engineering and policy decisions toward sustainability. Dr. Yao receives the U.S. National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER). She has been named to the American Institute of Chemical Engineers “35 Under 35” list for emerging leaders in chemical engineering. She receives Laudise Medal from the International Society for Industrial Ecology for her outstanding achievements in industrial ecology. Dr. Yao is the Associate Editor for Resources, Conservation & Recycling, a leading journal in sustainable management and conservation of resources. Her work has been published in top-tier journals such as Science, Nature Sustainability, and Environmental Science & Technology.

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