WORDS Patricia Moore
Timber is readily available, durable and simple to use, easy to maintain and with excellent insulating properties. And, as the demand to minimise adverse environmental impacts grows, timber from certified, sustainably managed forests is the environmentally-smart option.
Sustainable wood comes from sustainably managed forests. Sustainable timber refers to timber that has been harvested responsibly. That is, when one tree is cut down for use, another is immediately planted to replace it. Such process is possible due to different systems, but all in all its renewable due to the forest stewards who manage the landscape to prevent damage to eco-systems, watersheds, wildlife and the trees themselves, taking a long term rather than short term view of the resource.
According to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international non-profit organisation, multi-stakeholder organisation established in 1993 to promote responsible management of the world’s forests. The idea behind sustainably managed forests is ensure there are forests for future generations and provide clean air for future generations and a haven for wildlife.
Some basic requirements that logging companies must follow to be considered to following sustainable forest management practices are: Protection of biodiversity, specifies at risk wildlife habitat; sustainable harvest levels; protection of water quality; and prompt regeneration inclusive of replanting and reforestation.
Generally softwoods, which make up around 80% of timber globally, come from cone-bearing trees - evergreens with needle-like leaves such as New Zealand natives, pine, macrocarpa, spruce, redwood, Douglas fir, cypresses and larch, and are best suited to construction work – framework and cladding. Hardwoods are from slower growing deciduous trees like eucalypts, elm, oak, teak and beech and their attractive grains make them ideal for flooring, decking, furniture and decorative timber features. There’s timber for all budgets with softwoods typically the more economical option.
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