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Mr. CHAMBLISS. Mr. President, I am submitting a resolution today recognizing that hardwood trees are an abundant and sustainable resource in the United States, and that the products derived from hardwood trees should be given full consideration in programs promoting the construction of environmentally friendly buildings, including commercial, public or private buildings. This resolution will hopefully demonstrate Congress's support for the hardwood industry and that these hardwood materials, a USA product, are sustainable building materials. I invite and encourage all of my colleagues to cosponsor this bipartisan resolution.
The Nation's forests are a bountiful resource. Not only do they provide forest products and related jobs, but they also are prized for their scenic beauty, recreational opportunities, wildlife habitat, and maintaining clean air and water.
Today, about one-third of the Nation's landscape is forested. The majority of this forestland, about 57 percent, is privately owned. In my home State of Georgia, 24 million acres, about 67 percent of the land, is covered by forests. These forests have a direct economic impact of nearly $13 billion per year. About one-third of Georgia's forests are hardwoods, which supports the nearly 300 hardwood facilities in the State. Most of these are small, family owned businesses, just as they are in the rest of the country. Unfortunately, in Georgia and the rest of the country, this industry has been in decline for more than a decade as paper and wood mills have closed and 158,000 jobs, many in rural areas, have been lost.
I hope that with this resolution my colleagues and the Nation remember the numerous benefits of forests and hardwoods. They are a sustainable and renewable resource and should be recognized for the environmental benefits they provide.