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Who We Are
Sustainable Wood provides cutting edge news and reliable commentary on issues surrounding the sustainable management of forests, the trade in sustainable wood materials, and the sustainable use of wood for building, furniture and an expanding range of other innovative applications. By doing so, it contributes to the broader objective to put trees “at the heart of all the world’s economics and politics.”
What is Sustainable Wood?
“It is also true – marvellously and encouragingly so – that societies can build their entire economies around trees: economies that are much better for people at large, and infinitely more sustainable, than anything we have at present. Trees could indeed stand at the heart of all the world’s economics and politics, just as they are at the centre of all terrestrial ecology. The more I have become involved with trees…the more I have realised that this is so. In the future of humanity, and of all the world in all its aspects, trees are key players.”Colin Tudge in The Secret Life of Trees, 2005
We believe that the forestry sector has a key role to play in tackling emerging global challenges, not just in relation to forests. Climate change has become a key issue on the world stage, while at the same time political leaders are becoming more concerned about security of energy supplies. At every stage of their life cycle, forests and wood products can contribute to the solution of these problems.
Trees soak up carbon dioxide, the principle greenhouse gas, through photosynthesis. While some is subsequently released again through respiration, a significant proportion is stored as solid wood. Almost 50% of the dry weight of a tree is carbon. Harvesting of mature trees from plantations for conversion to durable timber products such as rafters, doors and window frames results in the carbon being tied up in the fabric of buildings for many decades, perhaps even centuries. Meanwhile the trees harvested for conversion into solid timber will be replaced through replanting and natural regeneration to absorb still more carbon.
The sustainable management of both native and planted forests, including wood production and processing in rural regions, and greater use of wood products by all of us, has a significant role to play in poverty reduction, biodiversity conservation and soil and watershed protection in rural forest landscapes, notably in the subtropics and tropics.
Closer to home, the antimicrobial properties of wood have come into the spotlight. With the current COVID-19 pandemic causing a further epidemic of anxiety around sanitized surfaces; species such as larch, pine and oak could provide a way to ease these worries. Untreated, they have been shown to have significant antimicrobial properties 1, and perform better than glass, plastic and steel when it comes to cross contamination 2. This could usher in a new era of timber interiors, not just in the home but also in hospitals, schools and other communal locations.
- Laireiter C.M., Schnabel T., Köck A., Stalzer P., Petutschnigg A., Oostingh G.J., Hell M. Active Anti-Microbial Effects of Larch and Pine Wood on Four Bacterial Strains. BioResources. 2013;9:273–281. doi: 10.15376/biores.9.1.273-281
- Munir M.T., Pailhories H., Eveillard M., Aviat F., Lepelletier D., Belloncle C., Federighi M. Antimicrobial Characteristics of Untreated Wood: Towards a Hygienic Environment. Health. 2019;11:152–170. doi: 10.4236/health.2019.112014