Most people know that we need trees to produce oxygen so we can live. That’s a pretty crucial reason to protect this valuable resource. But we also need a certain amount of timber in the modern world. Here’s where industry and the environment can come together and work more harmoniously than they have in the past. The answer is sustainable timber.
What is sustainable timber?
Sustainable timber is timber that’s been sourced from a sustainably managed forest. Sustainable forests are those that are managed with sustainability in mind. For example, when a tree is harvested, another is planted or regrows in its place. There’s a lot more to it than that, though.
Sustainable forests are managed with all environmental impacts considered. That includes everything from protecting the local wildlife to ensuring that harvesting methods don’t cause unnecessary damage to other vegetation. Essentially, sustainable timber is sourced from a forest where all factors are given equal consideration – environmental, economical and social.
Forest owners throughout Australia are seeking certification to demonstrate that sustainable forest management practices are followed. It’s good for the environment, good for the economy and it ensures that we can enjoy the rich benefits of our forests for generations to come.
Why do we need forests?
The list of reasons we need forests is nearly endless. Let’s take a look at just a few of the reasons in more detail:
Trees store carbon: Almost 40% of the carbon produced by humans is stored in trees. Not just temporarily, either. Trees can store carbon even after they’ve been harvested. So, the table you’re sitting at right now probably has carbon stored in the timber. To put it lightly, without trees, the damage our carbon emissions could cause to the planet would be catastrophic.
Trees produce oxygen: The other nifty trick that plants and trees can do is produce oxygen. Considering that oxygen is what humans need in order to breathe and remain alive, it’s remarkable that as a society we don’t do more to protect this crucial resource.
Biodiversity: While the survival of the human race is important, let’s not forget about all the other creatures we share the planet with. Forests provide biodiversity, allowing more than half of the world’s known species to live and thrive. Protecting forests isn’t just about giving animals a place to live, either. These biodiverse environments are responsible for ecological processes that are crucial.
Water: Trees also provide water for many of our rivers, and therefore play a huge role in giving us the water we need in order to survive. It’s a complicated process, but trees also help to reduce the sedimentation in our water and make it healthier for us to drink.
Cultural significance: Indigenous communities have long held a sacred bond with the land, and forests are a big part of that. To this day, forests are integral to the indigenous communities both spiritually and economically. For about 60,000 Traditional Owners have actively and adaptively managed Australia’s forests, today’s sustainable forest management continues that tradition.
Fuelling our economy: Forestry provides for around $23.9 billion of the Australian economy. As such, we still need timber. We still need to harvest trees. But we need to do it in a responsible way that is sustainable for generations to come.
The importance of forest certification
Responsible Wood is committed to helping protect these unique forest environments by implementing a set of standards that ensure the forestry industry is sustainable and viable from all perspectives. The Responsible Wood Certification Scheme is underpinned by two Australian Standards:
– Sustainable Forest Management (AS/NZS 4708)
– Chain of Custody for Forestry Products (AS 4707)
These standards and certifications are designed to guide manufacturers to source their timber from sustainable forests. They’re closely supported by PEFC guidelines, and Responsible Wood is the national governing body for PEFC in Australia.
These certifications also help consumers to make the right choices when buying products that come from forests. By purchasing products with the Responsible Wood logo, you’re contributing to the use of sustainable forests over irresponsible logging practices.
Forests provide Australia with so much, and it’s time that we protected them while still enjoying their benefits. Sustainable forest certification helps ensure that our forests are standing long after we’re gone. For more information on what we do and how you can be involved, please contact Responsible Wood today or check out our website for more information.