By Neva Knott
Beech Tree Woodworks is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. This certification guarantees that—from forest to kitchen cabinet—the wood the business uses is grown and harvested sustainably. In a sustainably managed forest, trees ready for harvest are cut and those too young are left standing. This alternative to clear-cutting is important to the planet’s overall ecosystem in that trees cover 30 per cent of global land area, and are the lungs of the earth. Leaf systems clean the air, tree canopies regulate temperature, and root systems moderate water flow. Sustainably managed forests are an important strategy against global warming in that they store carbon emissions.
The certification process guarantees that FSC wood is not illegally harvested, or harvested in violation of indigenous or civil rights, nor is it harvested in forests where conservation values are threatened, or from genetically modified trees. FSC certified logs do not come from rare old-growth and have not been treated with hazardous chemicals.
While the story so often told is one of a choice between the environment or the economy, the Forest Stewardship Council provides a welcome alternative. FSC certification is at the core of green building, an industry that comprises 20 per cent of the residential construction market, and is steadily increasing in market share.
In economic terms, sustainable harvesting creates a steady source of revenue for loggers and woodlot owners. In a clear-cut harvest system, once the trees are down, there are no jobs, no money to be made, and no forest left for local use. In addition, FSC makes sure the rightful woodlot owners are making the profit. As is too often the case in many developing countries, large corporations take over forests from indigenous groups or other unknowing peoples, pay a low wage to workers, and take all the profits with them, leaving a clear-cut landscape and a clear-cut economy. Illegal logging is also a problem on a global scale.
Beech Tree Woodworks owner Nic James is concerned that the raw materials for his cabinetry and furniture creations are grown with the environment in mind. To this end, Nic worked with Sustainable Northwest to secure FSC certification. He is also concerned with connecting his business to other local businesses to create jobs and provide livelihoods. Nic sources FSC certified plywood from Edensaw Woods, Ltd. In Port Townsend, Washington and salvaged fir from Dean Innovations in Portland, Oregon. He also works with Pacific Northwest independent woodlot owners for alder and Douglas fir. Making artisan products while keeping the local economy afloat and keeping forests intact are values that underpin the work at Beech Tree.
Humans are a forest-dependent species and will continue to harvest trees as raw material for many uses. When you as a consumer buy FSC certified products you participate in ensuring there will be forests left standing to function as part of the larger ecosystem, that habitat will remain intact. You will be promoting local economies, and will be making a stand against corruption and pollution. You will be feeding local families.