Deciding to install beautiful timber floors in your home is an investment for both you and the value of your house. However, with so much misinformation circling around, it can be tricky to navigate what’s sustainable and what isn’t when it comes to the timber you choose to purchase.
Sustainable forest management practices in Australia are better than just about anywhere in the world. We don’t clear out entire forests to make timber floors, rather, we ‘cherry pick’ our trees.
There’s a lot to learn when it comes to sustainable forestry management practices and where your timber floor comes from. Let us give you a run-down of what’s involved.
The timber industry as a whole
As consumers, we’re becoming increasingly aware of what we’re buying, where it comes from and who it’s made by. Jason Ross, Marketing and Communications Officer at Responsible Wood says, “Currently, there is a strong disconnect between the product, in this instance timber floors, and the perception of forestry and the reality of sustainable forest management.”
Increasing global demand for low-cost timber products supports a multi-billion-dollar business of illegal and unsustainable logging in forests worldwide. Because of this, it’s no wonder that we often picture entire forests being cleared by large trucks. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates that logging in violation of national laws accounts for 8 to 10% of global production and trade in forest products. The world’s natural forests currently can’t sustainably meet the soaring global demand for products under current forest management practices. Australia is taking action and is one of the global leaders in sustainable forestry.
Sourcing trees in Australia in a sustainable way is important, in addition to knowing where your product came from. Ethically sourced materials and sustainable practices are becoming an increasingly important aspect when it comes to consumer choice. “Whether it’s carbon capture, the protection of biodiversity or the preservation of human rights, independent, third-party certification plays an important role in verifying and demonstrating that flooring meets the social and environmental expectations of consumers,” Jason says.
The team at Responsible Wood manage the Responsible Wood Certification Scheme. This scheme acts as a guide and creates accountability amongst forest managers, manufacturers, and suppliers. With this scheme in place, stores like Natural Wood Floors can source the best quality materials Australia has to offer.
What are sustainable forest management practices?
As a whole, sustainable forest management “Focuses on conserving the natural habitat of plants and animals and respecting the rights of forestry workers and local communities. Growing and harvesting timber sustainably provides valuable income and work opportunities whilst conserving the forest for future generations.”
Nine different elements make up the sustainable forest management national standards. These standards are:
- Systematic management
- Stakeholder engagement
- Forest productive captivity
- Forest ecosystem health
- Soil and water resources
- Forest carbon
- Cultural values
- Social and economic benefits
Becoming certified and adhering to these elements allow our forests to remain protected for years to come. Our forests play a crucial role in the global environment, population, and economy. Besides alleviating the effects of climate change and natural disasters, they represent some of the richest biological areas on Earth.
With their certification process, Responsible Wood connects timber, the supplier, and the consumer together. Sourcing timber that is fully certified provides the supplier and consumer with the assurance that their product is sourced from a forest that’s being managed ethically. It verifies that the timber has been sustainably sourced, workers treated fairly, and all national standards have been met.
Jason says sustainable forest management practices, “Create outcomes that are socially just, ecologically sound and economically viable – the three pillars of sustainability.”
How can I find timber that’s been ethically sourced to use for my new floor?
Rather than clear out entire forests, sustainable forest management can allow for trees to be carefully selected for thinning and harvest, to maximise the conservation of the trees remaining.
If you’re considering timber floors, it’s important to know where your flooring has come from, as well as whether it was obtained ethically. When searching for a good, timber floor, there are a few things consumers can keep an eye out for.
Most timber suppliers will have information about their product and sources in the ‘about’ section on their website. For example, on the Natural Wood Floors website, you can find information about our timber’s origins, and further details about our product.
A formal claim on the timber will tell you whether the wood has been certified. You can find this in the shape of a small PEFC or Responsible Wood logo on the packaging of your product or invoice. Under each logo is a number, which you can use on the certification finder page. This number tracks the materials from the forests your product is from, down to the supply chain. It’s through this chain of custody certification you can ensure your product materials come from a certified forest, as well as protect the rights of workers involved in the production process.
Finding this certification also gives consumers the knowledge that their timber was sourced from a sustainably managed, Australian forest, through an Australian supply chain.
Why choose timber floors?
If knowing your new flooring has been ethically sourced doesn’t seal the deal for you, some other great benefits of having timber flooring in your home include:
- An addition of a warm vibe in each room
- Wood floors are tougher and more durable than most other flooring alternatives
- A quality timber floor can last up to 100 years and can be re-purposed at end-of-life
- The most practical choice for cleaning and maintenance
- Adds significant value to your home
Timber floors come in many different shapes and sizes, with many types of wood available to suit your interior styling. These floors can bring warmth to a room as well as open up a space. Unlike carpet, timber flooring is timeless and will never go out of style.
When it comes to installing a new timber floor, it’s understandable to be hesitant, as it is a big change and investment. Questioning where your product has come from and who was involved in the production process is important. At Natural Wood Floors, our solid wood products are PEFC certified, promoting sustainable forest management.
If you’re ready to add timber flooring to your home, or bring an old floor back to life, get in touch with the Natural Wood Floors team today.