Supporting healthy forests With FSC® Certification
but first, a few Depressing and inspiring facts about deforestation:
Deforestation is a major environmental issue in our modern world, as over harvesting and forest degradation not only significantly adds to carbon emissions (upwards of 20% of total global carbon emissions!), but also reduces the ability of forests to absorb existing carbon as well. Forests are vital ecosystems that support 80% of the world’s land animals and plants, including rare and endangered species, like the Sumatran tiger and Bornean orangutan.
Decimating forests removes the protective canopy layer, which usually insulates temperatures and shades incoming sunlight. Without this layer, temperatures can fluctuate more rapidly, affecting the lifecycles of many plants and animals.
Forests are integral in suppling water to major cities and towns around the world, providing much of the potable water for over 1/3 of the world's largest cities. Wood and other forest products are used for energy to cook and heat homes as well. In total, forests provide around 40% of global renewable energy as wood fuel, which is as much as solar, hydroelectric and wind power put together!
Beyond supporting biodiverse ecosystems and species, forests support human communities as well. Around 250 million of the rural poor globally depend on healthy forest ecosystems for their livelihoods and food security.
Whew! Beyond feeling that magnetic power of trees while walking through a winding forest trail, forest ecosystem services and social benefits are numerous and important. Forests require managed systems that support the longevity and wellbeing of the trees and the habitat they provide.
Thankfully, harmful deforestation is not the only way to harvest wood and manage forests. If that was the case, this article would be depressing! By supporting healthy harvesting and through reclaiming and reusing wood, we can maintain forests that continue to provide wood, economic support and ecological habitats for future generations.
Responding with Climate-Smart Forestry
An EcoTrust article analyzes the potential carbon storage of responsibly-managed forests in the Pacific Northwest of the US in an effort to encourage “climate-smart” forestry. “Climate-smart” forestry involves a long-term view of management, including longer harvest rotations and smaller harvest sizes to support ecological diversity. Protecting water quality and aquatic habitats by buffering around waterways is an important element as well, as harvesting practices that expose and disturb bare soil can lead to soil erosion and water contamination.
The EcoTrust study found that FSC® managed forests always stored more carbon than “business-as-usual” scenarios, and that longer harvest cycles would produce more timber and store more carbon. If we want to conserve and support healthy watersheds, diverse forest habitats and beautiful places to enjoy nature, we need to encourage climate-smart forestry.
What is the FSC® Certification process and why does it matter?
The Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) states that their mission is to support “environmentally sound, socially beneficial and economically prosperous management of the world's forests.” They not only uphold criteria that deters from the over harvesting of trees for lumber, but they also integrate social and community-driven principles to promote long-term management of forests and the people who interact with them.
They certify and audit not only the harvesting of lumber, but also the milling and processing of the wood as well, ensuring that the entire process upholds their ten principles. In terms of harvesting lumber, the FSC® enforces limits on clear cuts, protects old growth trees and restricts the use of highly hazardous pesticides while integrating stakeholder voices and protecting the rights of indigenous people.
Jordan Zettle, the Green Markets Associate of Sustainable Northwest, explains why FSC® certified forests are important for ecosystems and consumers alike:
“FSC Certification is unique because it promises to the end user that the wood they are buying supports responsibly harvested forests. FSC Forests are unique because they emphasize smaller cut sizes with more tree retention, helping to ensure shade and undergrowth. Lots of wood has a story, and many family-forests can absolutely meet or even exceed the FSC standards. But for those consumers who don't know where their wood is coming from, FSC certification is a guarantee that it’s coming from responsibly harvested forests.”
The FSC® also certifies reclaimed and recycled wood materials, including Anthology Woods solid reclaimed products, recognizing the “important role that reclaimed material plays in protecting the world’s forests.” Up-cycling these wood materials from old barns, industrial and agricultural structures, and fencing reduces the materials waste stream and softens the demand on new wood.
Why choose FSC® wood?
There are many reasons for designers and builders to use FSC® certified wood in their projects. Green building initiatives, including the LEED program, have incentives in place for FSC® certified materials, as well as local and reused materials. Consumers concerned about the environment demand more sustainable building materials, and can trust FSC® certification on products they purchase.
Sustainable green design has been on the rise for years, as the general public in the US has become more aware of environmental issues. Timber is an important renewable material integral in this movement, and has been showcased in countless modern and progressive architectural structures.
Take the Starbucks in Yosemite National Park, which is the first LEED certified retail location within the national park, and draws inspirations from the natural landscape. The design utilizes our Rediscovered Redwood from Northern California to integrate the store more naturally into the park. Tavolata Restaurant, in Seattle, WA, accents their dining hall with Anthology Woods FSC® Reclaimed Stout’s Legacy wall cladding. The design mixes industrial and rustic components to create a comfortable and clean dining experience that embraces sustainability.
Our Anthology Woods solid reclaimed products are FSC® Certified, and Engineered products are available on new-wood FSC® substrates by request for LEED (Leadership in Energy + Environmental Design) needs. We care about the sustainability of our wood and support the initiatives that are working to protect our vital forest ecosystems from deforestation. Wood is a valuable resource that should be managed thoughtfully for future generations to come.