How can Sustainable Timber be used in Homes, Construction and for Renewable Energy?
The term Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) encompasses an extensive set of practices and desired outcomes. This is a broad area, but the intention of SFM is to address the issues of adapting to climate change and limiting carbon emissions.
The timber from our forests is one of the most valuable resources on the entire planet. The demands for timber and related products should be balanced with the health and biodiversity of the forest to ensure ongoing success in these areas.
In a sustainably managed forest the theory goes that as soon trees are felled new trees can be planted to replace them. This ensures a steady supply of timber to meet both present and future demands. In addition to this, habitats can be created within the area for the purposes of conservation and encouraging biodiversity. A variety of species of tree can be planted and managed. Managing the forest in such a way also has a positive impact on the socio-economic well-being of the local and even global community. Not just at this particular moment in time, but if a forest is managed successfully, these benefits continue for many years into the future.
Sustainable Timber in Homes
Increasing numbers of people are becoming more educated when it comes to matters of sustainability. When sourcing wood products for DIY projects and furniture it is advisable for people in Europe to buy wood products from sustainable European forests. This is because SFM is widely employed in all commercial forestry operations thanks to European legislation.
A working definition of SFM was created by the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe MCPFE. The UN have also been instrumental in outlining the ‘Forest Principals’ at the Rio de Janeiro 1992 conference on Environment and Development (UNCED)
It is far easier to verify that European timber has been grown sustainably. Tropical timber may carry a sustainability guarantee mark, but forests and habitats have often destroyed in order to produce these products.
Sustainable Timber in Construction
There are an increasing number of legislative drivers pointing the way to sustainability. Embracing sustainability also has other advantages for companies involved in construction. Benefits include added value in terms of enhancing the credibility of their brand, increased consumer confidence and greater value to shareholders.
New initiatives that involve sustainable homes are becoming increasingly commonplace and they originate from the UN’s Agenda 21. This is the United Nation’s plan of action for tackling issues of sustainability through sustainable development. This was also unveiled at the 1992 conference at Rio de Janeiro on Environment and Development (UNCED) along with the ‘Forest Principals’.
So, the use of a sustainably grown timber will become mandatory when it comes to construction. In fact, legislation on sustainable building practices has already been implemented by the EU and although the specifics differ between countries the emphasis on sustainability remains a definite constant.
Selecting suitable materials is extremely important. Using locally produced timber from sustainably managed forests is a good way to minimise the environmental impact of the construction process.
Sustainable Timber and renewable Energy
Heating homes and other buildings with wood is ecologically sound and, if implemented correctly, the result is carbon neutral fuel. As mentioned earlier, if a new tree is planted for every one that is felled in a sustainably managed forest, the result is a steady supply of timber for fuel. Such a supply could even be increased according to the demands of a population. Using wood for fuel actively encourages and supports the ethos of Sustainable Forest Management. This is not a new concept since historically, tracts of woodland were often managed for this very purpose.
The installation of efficient wood burning stoves and pellet boilers can make good use of this valuable resource. Pellet boilers have long been favoured in Scandinavia and they are now becoming increasingly popular throughout the rest of Europe due to their sustainable credentials.
Sustainable Forest Management has far-reaching implications when it comes to conserving the well being of the planet and both local and global communities. The benefits include local sustainable employment and the creation of jobs and responsible stewardship of the Earth’s resources. Sustainable Forest Management is a vital component in an arsenal of strategies for addressing climate change and sustainability.