Everything you need to know about sustainable wood
The golden days where you simply went out and bought wood have passed. These days preserving the planet’s trees, forests, and woodlands are an imperative essential for the future survival of humans and something we must get a grip on as soon as possible. Buying wood has become quite a complex matter as a result.
Everything about sustainable wood
Sustainable wood comes from sustainability-managed forests. The forest stewards manage the landscape to prevent damage to eco-systems, wildlife, watersheds, and trees themselves to maintain renewability. That way they take long-term view of the resource rather than short term.
In this context, sustainability means the forest should still be there for your grandchildren and great-grandkids and be able to soak up carbon emissions and keep our air clean for generations to come, as well as be a haven for wildlife.
Wood from unsustainable sources is chopped down, leaving bare areas that, unless they’re carefully treated, never recover to their former version. The effects are clear – illegal logging leads to wholesale destruction.
Why should you bother buying sustainable wood?
Happening thousands of miles from home, exotic and remote Brazilian Amazon deforestation may not seem very relevant. You might not realize the harm that buying new Teak Garden furniture or Mahogany flooring does. By buying unsustainable wood, you have a profound effect on the areas where it’s harvested. It even includes human rights abuses, threatening the lifestyles and even the lives of indigenous tribes; hunting of endangered species, as well as making countless threatened and rare creatures homeless.
The timber industry is insatiable, as is our demand for wood, and it is no wonder that just 8% of the world’s forest is properly protected from destruction. Despite the best efforts of government, lawmakers, and conservationists, plenty of time is spent unsustainable harvesting the wood. Money sadly, often speaks louder than common sense, and today is often more important than the future. For example, timber production in Malaysia demands more trees than there are in existence. Wood is being smuggled in from Indonesia to meet demand because in some areas there are no trees left behind.
Which woods are most sustainable?
Timber is usually classified as either hardwood, from broad-leafed trees, such as Oak and Beech, or softwood from conifers like Fir and Pine. They are replaceable, and fast-growing species like Pine trees tend to be more sustainable than slow-growing trees like Oak. To make them sustainable, grown, and harvested in the right way. Oak forests must be managed carefully.
The EU has introduced legal measures to protect its forests and woodlands, and these days more trees are planted than felled. EU forests are growing instead of diminishing, which is considered. Because the law places a minimum requirement on replacing harvested trees as well as limiting annual harvests, buying European wood is usually a safe choice.
What about wood from outside the EU?
Wood sourced from South America, Africa, Asia, the USA and even Canada comes with fewer guarantees. Through determination, hard work and dedication to the environmental cause, these sources can be made sustainable. Forests assessments across these regions have been made by several international organizations, but there is still a long way to go.
The FSC – How to identify sustainable wood
Even if it says it’s from the EU, always look for official certification of the woods’ sustainable source. The question arises about wood from some EU sources; for example, illegal logging has long been suspected in Siberian and Russian forests.
The Forest Stewardship Council – FSC is a non-profit, independent organization promoting responsible management of the world’s forests. The certification system provides internationally recognized standard-setting and trademark assurance to anyone, individual or business, which is interested in supporting responsible forestry.
The FSC logo is a source to rely on, and there’s also the PEFC logo (Programme for the Endorsement of Forestry Certification). Joint, they help guarantee wood comes from sustainable sources, is replaced after harvesting, and is taken without harming the environment and neighboring ecosystems.