Wood

3. The wood is kiln dried hardwood from FSC certified forests – which guarantees that the forest the wood comes from is sustainably managed. Well managed forests provide clean water, homes for wildlife, and help stabilize the climate. Deforestation is one of the leading causes of greenhouse gas emissions.

As the National Resources Defense Council says:

“Forests are more than a symbolic ideal of wilderness, more than quiet places to enjoy nature. Forest ecosystems — trees, soil, undergrowth, all living things in a forest — are critical to maintaining life on earth. Forests help us breathe by creating oxygen and filtering pollutants from the air, and help stabilize the global climate by absorbing carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas. They soak up rainfall like giant sponges, preventing floods and purifying water that we drink. They provide habitat for 90 percent of the plant and animal species that live on land, as well as homelands for many of the earth’s last remaining indigenous cultures. Forests are commercially important, too; they yield valuable resources like wood, rubber and medicinal plants, including plants used to create cancer drugs. Harvesting these resources provides employment for local communities. Healthy forests are a critical part of the web of life. Protecting the earth’s remaining forest cover is now an urgent task.”1

Unsustainable logging, agricultural expansion, and other practices threaten many forests’ existence. Half of the Earth’s original forest cover has been lost, mostly in the last three decades.

According to the World Resources Institute (WRI),2 only 20% of Earth’s original forests remain today in areas large enough to maintain their full complement of biological and habitat diversity and ecological functions.

More than 20% of worldwide carbon emissions come from the loss of forests3, even after counting all the carbon captured by forest growth.

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A sustainable forest is a forest that is carefully managed so that as trees are felled they are replaced with seedlings that eventually grow into mature trees. This is a carefully and skilfully managed system. The forest is a working environment, producing wood products such as wood pulp for the paper / card industry and wood based materials for furniture manufacture and the construction industry. Great care is taken to ensure the safety of wildlife and to preserve the natural environment.

Forest certification is like organic labeling for forest products: it is intended as a seal of approval — a means of notifying consumers that a wood or paper product comes from forests managed in accordance with strict environmental and social standards. For example, a person shopping for flooring or furniture would seek a certified forest product to be sure that the wood was harvested in a sustainable manner from a healthy forest, and not clear cut from a tropical rainforest or the ancestral homelands of forest‐dependent indigenous people.

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Choosing products from forests certified by the independent Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) can be an important part of what consumers can do to support sustainable forests. Buying FSC certified wood creates a powerful incentive for retailers and manufacturers to seek out good wood suppliers. This in turn prompts forest managers to adopt ecologically sound certified practices that maintain natural forest characteristics, and to move away from destructive techniques like large‐scale clear cutting, logging in endangered and old‐growth forests and destruction of natural forests for replacement by barren tree plantations.

1 http://www.nrdc.org/land/forests/qcert.asp
2 “Guidelines for Avoiding Wood from Endangered Forests”, http://www.rainforestrelief.org/documents/Guidelines.pdf