The ability of British forests to satisfy our timber needs is restricted due both to their limited size, quality, volume and the species of timber they are capable of producing. There are also certain applications for which durability is critical, for example in civil engineering (bridges and sea defence works), where it’s hard to beat the strength and dimensional stability of tropical hardwoods.
Forests in temperate and boreal regions are increasing....
§ European forests are growing equivalent to the size of Cyprus annually
However the fact remains that deforestation is occuring in other regions. Much of that loss is due to land clearance for other more profitable uses such as palm oil production. Illegal logging is a problem for the international wood trade and contributes to deforestation; but usually causes degradation. While the problem is significant, it is largely confined to a limited range of “high risk” countries which are quite easy to identify. These countries are generally characterised by high levels of corruption and dysfunctional systems of forest regulation.
Timber certification systems have been developed to provide independent assurances that forestry operations are sustainable. A certified forest satisfies standards for environmentally, socially and economically responsible management. Wood products are then labelled so that they can be identified as derived from certified sources. This requires that wood trading companies are independently assessed against Chain of Custody standards to demonstrate that the wood product – or a specified proportion of that product - derives from certified forests.
Two major international frameworks have evolved to oversee and promote development of forest certification. These are the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), based in
Certification does take time, on average 2-5 years in the tropics. This has led to the development of third party legality schemes and step-wise programmes that operate world-wide. Where certified timber is not available the TTF recommend specifers and buyers request that the timber is sourced through one of the listed schemes or programmes.
Certified softwoods and panel products are now readily available as standard from many suppliers and usually these products do not attract a price premium. Certified hardwoods may be difficult to obtain and prices may be higher. Our members source all ranges of timber products from all over the globe.