There’s been much in the news in recent months about threats to trees and forests – from ‘ash dieback’ to ‘sudden oak death’, and of course deforestation continues in many parts of the world. So when you buy timber products, it’s important to know that they come from sustainable sources. Purchasing wood from well-managed forests means you can buy timber with a clear conscience, confident you’re not damaging forests and woodlands for future generations.
The best way to enjoy this peace of mind is to buy products from an FSC-certified business. FSC is the Forest Stewardship Council, and it’s a worldwide organisation promoting ‘environmentally appropriate’ management of the world’s forests. Businesses with FSC certification (which is voluntary) comply with high environmental and social standards.
As part of the Lemeks Group of companies, GardenLife belongs to an FSC-certified enterprise, and we sell a number of products made from FSC-certified timber. You can see the FSC logo (the ‘tick tree’) on many of the cabins and play sets on our website. Purchase a product marked with this icon means that you are buying an FSC-certified garden building.
What do we mean by ‘sustainable timber’?
Organisations like the FSC are concerned about the environmental management of forests, but they also look into social and economic aspects too. So – and please excuse us, but things may get a bit jargon-heavy for a while – to this end, they also promote ‘socially beneficial and economically viable’ management of the world’s forests. For example, among the ten FSC principles which forest owners/managers have to follow are: identifying and upholding indigenous people’ rights of ownership and use of land and resources; and maintaining forest workers’ and local communities’ social and economic well-being.
If you want to know more about the FSC and its principles, go to its website at www.fsc-uk.org.
Well-managed forests are not just about timber
You’ll find the FSC logo around the GardenLife website. But where else should you look for it? The obvious place is on other timber products, including decking, flooring and furniture.
And then there are products that aren’t quite so obvious, until you think about it: For example:
- items made out of bamboo, rattan, straw and cork
- paper, cardboard and other packaging
- tissues and napkins
They all come from trees, of course, and so it’s just as important that they’re sourced from well-managed forests. And a couple of years back the world’s first FSC certified woodwind instrument was put on sale – made out of African blackwood (one of the world’s most valuable timbers) sourced from certified forests in Tanzania.
Other forest-sourced products also require sustainable management if we are not to deprive future generations of them. So, among the other products certified by the FSC are: medicinal plants and pharmaceutical raw materials; rubber, latex, and other products manufactured from natural gums; and food, including nuts, tea, mushrooms, honey and game.
The Nordic connection
But back to timber. Another factor that lets you buy GardenLife cabins with a clear environmental conscience is that they’re made from sustainable Nordic timber.
Forestry is a huge business in the Nordic and Baltic countries – especially Estonia (home of the Lemeks Group), Finland and Sweden. Since the forests are a major source of revenue and employment, and a strong part of these countries’ culture and history, they enjoy significant legal protection. There are strict rules about how much timber can be harvested, and how much must be replanted.
You can be sure that by buying cabins made from Baltic timber, you’re buying wood carefully sourced from sustainable forests. So when you are browsing the GardenLife website look out for the FSC logo – you can buy an FSC-certified garden building, summerhouse or children’s playset safe in the knowledge that the timber came from sustainably managed forests.