by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Green Smart Magazine : GreenSmart 2010
Many timbers and papers are now certified under a vast array of schemes. So how do we tell good wood from bad? Most of us love the look of timber. Architects and designers get excited about its design potential, and consumers love its warmth and beauty. But to obtain timber, we need to cut down trees. Given that timber can be a renewable resource -- through managed forests -- we can do this in a sustainable way. The dilemma, however, is how can we tell the wood from the trees; that is, how can we tell if the timber we're buying comes from a sustainable, managed forest or from an old growth or wilderness area. Certification seems to be the answer. There has been a lot of talk in recent years of certification programs such as CoC, PEFC, FSC and AFCS. In fact, at the front of this magazine we tell you that our magazine is PEFC and CoC compliant. But what do all these abbreviations mean? And why should you care? Basically, these programs are schemes put in place to protect and ensure the future of the world's endangered forests. They are designed to allow us to indulge in our love of timber while at the same time having the reassurance that we are selecting products from sustainably managed forests, and not depleting existing species to extinct levels. Dr Alastair Woodard, general manager of Wood Products Victoria, explains that timber certification is basically made up of two components: certification of sustainability of forest management (forest certification), and product certification (chain of custody). Forest certification is designed to ensure that forests are being managed in a sustainable way by providing an independent third party assessment for on-the-ground forestry operations, and whether they are being carried out according to a predetermined standard. Those operators who comply are issued a certificate -- hence 'certification'. The assessment includes forest management and the environmental, economic and social impacts of forest activities. Chain-of-custody certification refers to all the steps in the process of taking certified products from the forest through to the end user. This includes trading, broking, wholesaling, manufacture, and retailing. The whole concept of chain of custody is that, if need be, any piece of timber can be tracked right back to the forest it has come from. (See diagram opposite). This is extremely important for some overseas timbers where there might be concerns around illegally harvested timber entering the market. Chain-of-custody certification is less of an issue within Australia because of the strict forest and marketing regulations we have in place. 'Certification schemes typically require forest management practices which are significantly more stringent than regulations and laws. Rigorous, independent third-party audits must also be carried out before forest managers can claim that [their products] are certified, and these assessments are subject to scrutiny,' Alastair says. More than 85 per cent of Australian forests are certified. However, with chain of custody a piece of history One of the simplest sustainable practises is to recycle. Recycled timber often has great character and can be salvaged from demolished houses, factories, wharves, warehouses and even boats. For instance, old power poles and railway sleepers can be stunning when the outer layers have been stripped back. Nash Timbers of Sydney are getting spectacular results from recycling old grey, weathered power poles into stunning architectural products such as hardwood flooring, decking, cladding, staircases, furniture, and feature beams. Each of the power poles has a unique identification tag denoting the characteristics of the pole, giving each project a chain of custody and homeowners a piece of Sydney's history. See page 11 for contact details. 50 greensmart 2010 Photos courtesy Nash Timbers for the love of wood sustainabletimber story > Louise Tigchelaar MORE THAN 85 PER CENT OF AUSTRALIAN FORESTS ARE CERTIFIED