Last edited 14 Mar 2022

Sustainable Wood


[edit] Introduction

Sustainable wood is wood that comes from responsibly managed woodlands and forests. The key word is renewable, which means once a tree is cut down, a steward of the forest or woodland manages the land to prevent erosion and other types of damage to a fragile ecosystem. By taking a long-term view of wood, the land where a tree fell is used to replace the tree with a seedling that grows into a mature new tree.

Sustainable practices mean a forest or a woodland should remain environmentally viable for future generations to enjoy. Many manufacturers have made acquiring sustainable wood an important component of their business model.

[edit] Why should I buy sustainable wood?

Buying unsustainable wood may have a long-term negative impact on the areas it comes from, including abuses of human rights, the hunting of endangered species and threatening the way of life of indigenous people. Eventually, the rain forest turns into a devastated area where the cycle of life comes to a halt. Then, attention turns to other areas of the world that contain forests and woodlands.

Buying sustainable wood is the most effective way to support the future development of sustainable sources.

[edit] What are the most sustainable types of wood?

Timber receives either a hardwood or a softwood classification. Hardwood species include broadleaf trees such as oak and beech, while softwood species include conifers such as fir and pine.

Because they grow at a fast rate, softwood trees like pine are more sustainable than slower growing hardwood trees like oak. Stewards must closely monitor oak forests to ensure they remain sustainable. This means trees must be grown and harvested the correct way, which requires measures that limit the damage done to the surrounding land.

[edit] Should I buy wood brought from a country outside of the UK?

Wood harvested from Asia, Africa, South America and even North America rarely comes with the same guarantees of sustainability as the wood harvested in the UK and throughout the European Union. The sources outside the UK can be sustainable if the stewards of the land implement strict anti-deforestation policies. Unsustainable wood is especially a problem in South America, where the Brazilian rainforest is taking a huge hit from deforestation.

You can learn more about which trees are on the endangered list by visiting the United Nations website.

[edit] How do I confirm sustainable wood?

Always look for the certification of a sustainable source, even if the wood you are interested in buying comes from a source within the European Union. For example, investigations conducted on the harvesting of timber in Siberia have demonstrated the stewards of the land use unsustainable harvesting practices.

As an independently operated non-profit organisation, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) promotes the responsible management of the planet’s wood supply. The organisation’s certification process creates the establishment of standards that are recognised throughout the world. Look for the FSC logo to ensure you buy wood from a sustainable source.

[edit] What is the global impact of sustainable timber sourcing?

Wood harvested from properly managed sources, such as the wood harvested from FSC certified forests, represents a natural solution to a worldwide problem called climate change. Sustainable timber sourcing comes from areas of the world that require action to reverse the destruction of the ecosystem as well as prevent further deterioration of the surrounding land. In addition to creating a natural habitat for fauna and floral species, sustainable wood sources allow trees to mature and then filter CO2 from the air by absorbing it into a tree’s biomass.

The rate at which trees absorb CO2 contributes to the rate at which Earth heats up. When stewards harvest trees for wood production before maturity, more of a carbon by product is released into the atmosphere. FSC wood acts as a store for carbon, and allows the surrounding forest or woodland to produce the new biomass required to filter carbon.

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