The Environmental and the Sustainable Use of Timber

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a global non government organisation (NGO) which seeks to unite, other NGOs, Human Rights Organisations,  large and small businesses and you as the individual customer of timber produced goods in the single shared vision. The vision of promoting environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world's forests and woodlands.  The origins of the FSC, in California in 1990, is founded upon and is a direct response to the very real threat of the ever increasing acceleration of deforestation, the onward march of environmental damage and the growing problems and issues of social exclusion evident within the forestry industry and its associated trades of the production and crafting of timber goods. The primary aim of the FSC is to identify and certificate well managed forests and woodland plantations which strive to provide an environmentally friendly, responsibly produced and sustainable sources of timber to its allied manufactories and craft based trades.  Ultimately the FSC certification mark gives you the customer the knowledge and peace of mind you are acting in an environmentally sensitive manner when purchasing one of nature’s finest natural resources which is not only strong, durable and unique in character but lends itself to an inherent beauty beyond compare when worked by a true craftsperson.
Socially and environmentally responsible craft persons endeavour to ascertain that the timber they buy and use is able to meet the strict credentials they insist upon to satisfy their individually and company held wider politically and ethically held beliefs.  They undertake in accordance with the World Wildlife Fund‘s (WWF), Friends of the Earth (FOE), Greenpeace, and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)  advise only sustainable timber and timber is only sustainable if it comes from well managed forests or woodland plantations ia sourced.  Once a tree is felled it can no longer act as store for carbon which is released in the form of  carbon dioxide (CO2), a major greenhouse gas and contributor to global warming (see Fig 1), or able to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere via the trees respiratory process as part of the Carbon Cycle (see Fig 2). 

Fig 1 Greenhouse Gas Effect

For timber to be classified to have been cropped from a sustainable source it has to originate from a well managed forest or woodland plantation where more trees are planted than harvested. This not only guarantees the sustainability of the timber crop itself and the products crafted  from it for following generations to take pleasure from but is instrumental in allowing the woodland to continue to act as the ‘world’s lungs’ and contribute to the absorption of carbon dioxide and play its equally vital role in adding to the enhancement and biodiversity of the environment we all live in, enjoy, and benefit from.   

Fig 2 The Carbon Cycle

You as a highly valued customer of, whether purchasing a ready made, or a bespoke piece commissioned to your individual requirements and specifications fire surround, oak over mantle mirror, or an occasional table, to complement your home, can rest assured not only that it will have been sympathetically hand crafted to the highest quality to bring out the unique quality of each individually chosen piece of timber but the timber itself will have been supplied from a reputable supplier from a sustainable source if it carries FSA or PEFC certification.
Reproduced with the authours persmission from the orginal artcile Tree Felling and Our Environment at

By Phil Cleaver


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