The common thought with timber flooring and timber products are that they are harmful to the environment and that forests are being destroyed at the same time. With a bit of inside information, it can be seen that this is far from the real truth.
WHAT IS A SUSTAINABLE FOREST?
A sustainable forest is a purposively planted forest that is carefully managed to ensure minimum negative impacts on the environment. In simple terms these forests are planted specifically for the use of timber flooring and related products. These forests are a working environment that include very minimal animal life.
Once tree’s reach a mature age they are felled and re-planted again. This takes many years of patience and care but also ensures that the industry is sustainable. With controlled planting and seeding of species it also allows for a much straighter growth. This allows for a lot of efficiency and minimizing waste when manufacturing logs.
There are 9 official criteria that must be met in order to reach the Australian Standard for Sustainable Forest Management, some of these including Biodiversity, Ecosytem health and Forest Carbon. More can be read here.
WHAT IS A CHAIN OF CUSTODY?
A chain of custody is a link for consumers of the sustainable origins for the product. It is like a barcode on each product that shows its journey from forest, through production to finished product.
For a forest to be certified it must ensure it shows environmental benefit as well as economic benefits. Overall benefiting planet, profit and people. For the consumer this ensures that the product they are purchasing is not providing a negative impact on the environment.
Cheaper products found on the market can sometimes indicate illegal deforestation which is why it is important to request a product that is only sourced by sustainable channels.
HOW DOES THIS POSSIBLY HELP RATHER THAN HINDER THE ENVIRONMENT?
Dense and unmanaged forests can often restrict the chance for new or young growth within the forest. As the canopy closes so do does the chance for many low-lying plants to flourish. It is often found that by strategically removing aged trees and cleaning the forest floor it can firstly lower chances of bushfires as well as provide a chance for a lot of new life to grow through.
It is also found that complete mature tree’s can start to release carbon rather than absorbing, storing and using CO2 for the photosynthesis process. The perfect balance for a sustainable forest is a mixture of young and old trees including a lot of specimen diversity.