Timber is a product that can have a number of moral and ethical consequences in its production. The first thing, clearly, is that timber needs to come from a living tree which is cut down and then processed into usable pieces of timber. There are many reasons we should attempt to reduce the amount of timber manufactured. This article will examine a few of them.
Perhaps you have heard of blood diamonds before. Conflict timber is a phenomenon that is confined mainly to countries with poor systems of governance. There are essentially 2 types of conflict timber and it is a major problem in many countries in Asia and Africa. The first type is an army or rebel group cutting down large sections of forest to sell for arms, sometimes even in the form of direct barters. The second type is conflicts that arise around the allocation of forest resources between various interested groups.
Timber is a favoured commodity of many warlords due to its vastness as a resource. It is also relatively easy to access, but not so easy that any unskilled individual can illegally log. Illegal logging operations are often supported by a vast network of corrupt government, military, or militia officials. There are a number of direct and modern examples of conflict timber being used to equip child soldiers.
Conflict timber is a bad thing for 3 reasons
- It is funding violence and war.
- Money is frequently lost via corruption, and consequently feeds criminals.
- Logging operations are carried out with little thought of sustainability.
Reducing the demand on timber will allow manufacturers the ability to not rely on timber from questionable sources. Many cheaper wooden outdoor furniture settings are manufactured in China from illegally and unsustainably felled Cambodian and Burmese rainforest.
Trees are an important part of removing carbon dioxide from the air. Decreasing the amount of trees is almost equivalent to increasing the amount of fossil fuels burned. Trees are also an important part of the water cycle, and removal of sections of forest can significantly hurt rainfall in surrounding areas. One method of stopping this damage is to use plantation timber, but presently the world does not meet its timber demands from plantation timber alone.
Plantation timber does offset the environmental damage caused by old-growth forest logging, a practice which continues in nearly all countries.
Less Energy Consumption
Less energy is consumed in the recycling of timber than in the production of timber from a forest. Milling and transportation costs are significantly lower. This results in a lower cost to the consumer as well.
Timber production is unfortunately linked with many societal problems in less stable countries, and is also quite a harmful activity in terms of the environment.
By using recycled timber where possible you are reducing all of these costs, as well are your own. If you are thinking of buying a new timber product or having home renovation work done, try to be sure that the timber you are using is sustainably and ethically produced or preferably, recycled.
This article on the benefits of recycled timber, and why you should always use recycled timber is brought to you by Fremantle Timber Traders. To read more from us, you may want to check out – How to Stop the Destruction of Forests.