Is Timber Sustainable?

When timber is produced responsibly it is considered one of the most sustainable building materials. Timber is renewable, recyclable, and can offer environmental, social and economic value.

Timber and Climate Change

The climate is intrinsically linked with our forests, as they are an important aspect of the global carbon cycle. Sustainable timber production forests and wood product industries contribute to combatting climate emissions by supporting the population of trees. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and store this as carbon, removing it from the atmosphere. By acting as a carbon store, it offsets the energy used during processing and transportation, making timber a carbon negative material. These forests also protect these carbon stores from damaging wildfires and provide long-term carbon storage in durable wood products.

person holding timber planks

Timber also provides a valuable substitute for non-renewable building materials such as steel, aluminium, and concrete, that do contribute negatively to carbon emissions. In terms of energy consumption, compared to hardwood it generally requires 19 times more energy to make a comparable product from steel, 45 times more for plastic, and 85 times more for aluminium.

What Is Sustainable Timber Production?

Besides helping combat carbon emissions, wood is also an irreplaceable commodity in society. This highlights the importance of harvesting timber responsibly so as not to exhaust our planet’s resources. Fortunately, timber is renewable, which means through sustainable production we can continue to have a thriving source of carbon storage.

Sustainable timber production refers to timber production forests that are continuously replenished by planting one to ten new trees for every tree harvested. The management of these forests is a cyclical process that involves the harvest and regeneration of forests on a continuous basis.

Why Use Sustainable Timber?

As the demand for timber rises irresponsible logging becomes an increasing concern. For many companies’ other factors can override their environmental concern, meaning the harvesting of trees without care for the local flora, fauna, and most importantly replenishment of resources.

Interpol estimates that up to 10%, or $800 million worth of timber coming to Australia each year comes from sources that are considered to be high risk for illegal logging. This is why it is important to ensure you are getting your timber products from companies that source from sustainable forests. This is an important way to limit your carbon footprint and benefit the environment.

Can Timber Be Recycled?

By recycling your timber, it stores its carbon for even longer and is not released back into the atmosphere through decomposition. This means a continued positive environmental impact. Timber can be chipped down into wood chips which can be used to power homes or power plants. We recommend for the best sustainable result to research the best way to dispose of your timber products at the end of their lifecycle.

At Austratus, we are committed to sustainable building, which is why we use Western Red Cedar that is PEFC™ certified. Contact us for your next sustainable building project.