Sustainability is one
of those emotive buzz words which often obscure the complexities of the
It is a mistake to think that,
by using timber instead of
certain other construction materials, enough is being done for the
If forests are being destroyed
as a result of its
production, it can hardly be described as being environmentally
And it is very difficult to
prove where lumber actually
comes from because the supply chain from forest to end user is often
Deforestation also presents a
massive threat to
From what I as a lay-man can
ascertain there is still no
definitive method for measuring sustainability.
However, as far as I can see
timber, which is selectively
felled allowing room and light to get to surrounding trees and milled
on small portable mills close to where they fall has to
minimize damage to
And when then carried out by
hand or on small
vehicles on smaller roads will cause much less disturbance to
the rest of
the forest than the operations which clear and fell acres and acres of
use skidders and loaders and large trucks which then travel on large
invasive roads to the mills.
And that is without mentioning
the burning and clearing
of the remaining scrub.
US Forestry Service provides a free
internet resource detailing a vast amount of their research into wood
utilization, the conservation and productivity of forests and their
contribution to the economy, and quality of life.
OK, its a marketing
fact that If we all stop buying timber that comes from forests that are
managed, or even perhaps that has been illegally produced, then the
will have no choice but to change as well.
But how can we consumers
choose timber without harming
We are all increasingly aware
how those 'green' labels on
everything we buy are often suspect.
And more and more customers
are loosing confidence in
schemes based on government led standards.
A three-year study of timber
companies by the WWF
entitled ‘Truth or Trickery?’ revealed a confusing proliferation of
self-appointed ‘green’ logos and certificates issued by trade
bodies and the like which were more interested in self promotion than
From the limited
amount of research
that I as a simple minded consumer have
been able to do, the most reliable environmentally friendly timber
seem to be that of the’ Forest Stewardship Council’ (FSC).
While I doubt if any means of
certification is foolproof,
at least the FSC is an independent, non-governmental, not for profit
The FSC was founded in 1993 by
the World Wide Fund for
Nature and other groups to promote the responsible management of the
The FSC is the only forest
certification system which is
supported by all major environmental groups as well as organisations
the US and the Australian green building council.
As well as stringent
environmental principles, other
criteria which must be satisfied if forests are to qualify for its
The prohibition of
conversion of natural forests or
The prohibition of highly
The prohibition of the
cultivation of genetically
The upholding of the
The promotion of good
employment and health and safety
The inspection of each
certified operation at least
once a year, those found to no longer comply with the criteria will
I am perfectly aware that the majority of Wooden Boat aficionados are sensible folk. However, I need to point out that I am an amateur wooden boat enthusiast simply writing in order to try to help other amateur wooden boat enthusiasts. And while I take every care to ensure that the information in DIY Wood Boat.com is correct, anyone acting on the information on this website does so at their own risk.