Forest Management

How Wood Can Help #MoveTheDate

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This year Earth Overshoot Day lands on 22nd August. This is the date when humanity has used more resources than the planet can replace this year. The main purpose of creating this date is to emphasise how current societies are living beyond their means, living on resources borrowed from future generations. It is imperative that we #MoveTheDate if we do not want to repeat the mistakes of the past and create a healthier, happier world.

How Can Wood #MoveTheDate?

Real change will only come about through a transition towards a circular economy. Where products and processes are designed to take into account every aspect of their life cycle to minimise waste and environmental effects. Wood has the potential to be a key part of this transition by enabling a move away from traditional, non-renewable materials such as concrete, steel and plastic. The breadth of potential applications for wood are only just beginning to be explored and exploited; from cross laminated timber buildings acting as huge carbon stores, to the cellulose and lignin in it’s cell walls being a source of sustainable biopolymers.

Wood buildings will help us #MoveTheDate
The wooden Welsh Assembly Building, Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Of course, wood can only fulfill its role as a renewable material if it is sustainable. This is trickier to ensure than it first looks, and there is no one size fits all approach to ensuring the future of a forest and meeting demand for timber. Find out what makes sustainable wood here.

A Note on the Report

In the assessment by Global Footprint Network to calculate Earth Overshoot Day the demand for forest products was the second biggest contributor to humanity’s ecological footprint. Sustainable Wood would like to emphasise that this is not a demand just for wood products or timber but also includes the demand for conversion to agricultural land, the cause of most deforestation, especially in the Amazon – the forest mentioned specifically in the report.

Most deforestation is driven by demand for agricultural land, Photo by Dieny Portinanni on Unsplash

It seemed that this section of the report could be easily misinterpreted to mean that the commercial timber market was the second biggest driver of overshoot, which is not true. If done sustainably, commercial logging does not result in deforestation and can in fact result in afforestation and the renovation of degraded forests.

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