A refresher - Why are trees so important?
Here’s a bit of the sciencey stuff. While trees grow, they use sunlight to absorb carbon dioxide from the air and store it as carbon in the form of wood. A process known as photosynthesis. The trees then use this carbon dioxide and water to produce sugars, which in turn provide energy required to produce oxygen. And we all know oxygen is good. Put simply, the more trees we have the more carbon is removed from the atmosphere and the more oxygen is produced.
Younger trees absorb carbon dioxide much quicker when they are growing, more so than when a tree that has reached its growth limit, so if they are harvested at this pinnacle growth point and new trees are planted alongside it can really help a forest thrive and maximize the amount of carbon absorption.
The harsh reality of deforestation
Some tree types are quickly becoming extinct with large forests all over the world being recklessly destroyed. Mass deforestation has a huge impact on everything that surrounds the area, not to mention the benefits of carbon reduction in the global atmosphere.
Brazilian Amazon deforestation might not seem very relevant. It happens thousands of miles from home, exotic and remote. You might not realize the harm that buying new Mahogany flooring or Teak garden furniture does. But buying unsustainable wood has a profound effect on the areas where it’s harvested, including human rights abuses, hunting of endangered species, threatening the lifestyles and the lives of indigenous tribes, as well as making countless rare and threatened creatures homeless.
There’s also the story of what happened to the inhabitants of Easter Island. A once thriving community with a population of over 2000 people on this small Polynesian island, rapidly reduced to only a mere 100 due to deforestation. The Rapanui people of the island greatly underestimated their resources, and from clearing masses of trees to make canoes, clearing land for cultivation and building pathways, the ecosystem surrounding them could no longer survive. They effectively destroyed the carefully balanced system that supported all life on the island when they removed too many trees.
Just 8% of the world’s forest is properly protected from destruction. The timber industry is insatiable, as is our demand for wood. And much of the time it’s harvested unsustainably despite the best efforts of conservationists, governments and lawmakers. Sadly, money often speaks louder than common sense and today is often more important than the future. In Malaysia, for example, timber production demands more trees than there are in existence. In some areas there are no trees left and wood is being smuggled in from Indonesia to meet demand.
Why buy sustainable sourced wood?
Sustainable wood comes from sustainably managed forests. It’s renewable because the forest stewards 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.
Sustainability in this context means the forest should still be there for your grandchildren and great-grandchildren, be able to soak up carbon emissions and keep our air clean for generations to come, as well as a being haven for wildlife.
How to identify sustainable wood – The FSC
Always look for official certification of the wood’s sustainable source.
The Forest Stewardship Council – FSC is an independent, non-profit organization that was setup in 1993 to protect and promote responsible management of the world’s forests. FSC forest management certification confirms that the forest is being managed in a way that preserves biological diversity and benefits the lives of local people and workers, while ensuring it sustains economic viability. Their certification system provides internationally recognized standard-setting and trademark assurance to anyone, business or individual, who is interested in supporting responsible forestry.
The FSC logo is something you can rely on. They help guarantee wood comes from sustainable sources, is replaced after harvesting, and is taken without harming the environment and neighbouring ecosystems.
Doing our part
Everwood hardwoods are only from ethical sources. Buying timber, furniture or any other wooden product with certification from this standards agency is a sure bet that the source is a responsibly managed site which will support their eco-systems for generations to come.
If our forests are properly managed, we can minimize the environmental impact, maximize oxygen production and carbon absorption and ensure our forests grow in size over time, rather than diminish.