Regarded as one of the most valuable natural resources available to man, more than 30% of the world’s population rely on what forests can provide – from food to building materials to firewood.
With the demand for wood being so high, it is fortunate that this beautiful resource is totally renewable, and the responsibility lies with us to ensure that forests will still be around for generations to follow.
As we are becoming more and more aware of our impact on the environment, one can hardly go through a day without hearing the term ‘sustainable’ being mentioned at least once. But what does this buzzword mean and why is it so important when it comes to timber?
Sustainable timber refers to timber that has been harvested responsibly from well managed forests that are continuously replenished, ensuring that there is no damage done to the surrounding environment, native flora and fauna.
Well-managed forests have a positive impact on biodiversity, ensuring that animals and plants are protected. This preserves the forest for future generations, as well as ensuring that it continues to provide a reliable source of sustainable timber. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification scheme sets incredibly high standards for sustainable timber, which includes the following:
- Commitments to replacing trees that are harvested or allowing them to regenerate naturally.
- Guarantees that indigenous people’s right to use the forest is protected.
- Ensures that local workers are employed to run the forest and are provided with training, safety equipment and decent salaries.
These safeguards have led the FSC to be the only sustainable timber certification scheme to receive endorsements from major environmental charities, including the WWF, Greenpeace and The Woodland Trust.
Given the importance of forests to the planet, sustainable management is crucial to ensure that our demands don’t compromise the resource. As a Chinese proverb reads: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is today.”