The principles of sustainable forest management (SFM) include economic, social and environmental goals. As Sukanto Tanoto
will tell you, trees should be harvested through a carefully managed system to ensure the forests survive for generations. This not only preserves the trees, it also preserves wildlife habitats and other natural environments in the wilderness.
What Is the Process?
A sustainable forest will have trees of several different ages and species. When the trees reach a mature age and size, they are harvested and processed at saw mills for lumber. Each felled tree is replaced with seedlings to ensure the constant renewal of the forest. A typical lifestyle of a sustainable forest is:
• Seedlings are grown in greenhouses until they are strong enough to be transplanted directly into the forest.
• When the seedlings are five years old, they are transplanted.
• When the seedlings become young trees in 10 years, they are thinned out. This allows for the remaining trees to grow bigger.
• When the trees are 25 years old, they are almost ready to be felled. At this point the tree is monitored carefully to determine the right time to fell. This will be between 25 and 30 years.
• When the trees are felled at 30 years old, the wood is used for construction, furniture, paper and other wood products.
What Is a Non-Sustainable Forest?
The activity in a non-sustainable forest involves the removal of the largest and most valuable trees on the land for economic purposes. The undesirable and poorly-formed trees are left to grow. In most cases, there is no consideration given to maintaining diversified plant species, wildlife habitats or wetlands. The land is not reseeded, and provides limited options for future harvests. The Sustainable Forestry Initiative aims to educate landowners on the difference between short-term financial gain that degrades the forest and other environments, and sustainable management that allows for long-term economic gain as well as environmental and wildlife benefits.
Different Types of Sustainable Wood
Sustainable wood is simply wood that is harvested from a sustainably managed forest. However, some trees take so long to grow big enough to be viable for lumber that contractors are looking at different types of wood. Today, bamboo is one of the most popular sustainable woods because it is extremely durable, waterproof and grows so fast, it can be harvested every three to five years. Bamboo is actually a grass that is native to the Philippines, but today is grown all over the world and considered an environmentally-friendly replacement for hardwoods like oak that may take 80 to 100 years to be economically viable for harvesting.
How to Be Sure
Most people are not aware that the furniture, paper and other wood products they buy could be from sources that participate in deforestation. The best way to be sure is to look for the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC
) logo on any wood product. You can also ask your contractor to only use sustainable wood and ask your dealer to find sustainable furniture and other wood products.
Buying FSC-certified products
is one way consumers can reduce their own carbon footprint and discourage the people who are harvesting wood irresponsibly. Trees
consume carbon dioxide and release oxygen. It should be obvious that we should manage our forests, so they are healthy for generations.