Sunday, September 28, 2008

What is a sustainable forest?

Many people and companies claim that their wood products are sustainable, but what does that really mean? There is a plethora of information and misinformation regarding forest sustainability.

The generally accepted definition of a sustainable forest, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) goes something like this:

  • the stewardship and use of forests and forest lands in a way, and at a rate, that maintains their biodiversity, productivity, regeneration capacity, vitality and their potential to fulfill, now and in the future, relevant ecological, economic and social functions, at local, national, and global levels, and that does not cause damage to other ecosystems.

There are more than 50 organizations worldwide that certify that these forest management practices are met. Some of the more common certification standards include:

The twist stools, end tables, wall panels and accessories sold by Terra Furnishings are hand carved in Thailand and are certified by the Royal Forestry Department. Thailand has promoted sustainable wood growth and harvesting practices dating back to the 1950s. Their guidelines insure that land is reclaimed for reforestation and controlled harvesting while allowing the country's active woodcarving industry to thrive.