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environmental specifications: put timber in its proper place

Since early 2006 we have seen both

›   the timber industry move strongly towards the implementation of forest and product certification to provide independent third party certification of sustainable management practices; and
›   the introduction and take-up of a wide range of new sustainability/environmental regulations, material specifications and procurement policies. Many of these have been developed or strongly influenced by groups with anti-timber agendas.

In many instances, the strong life-cycle environmental attributes of timber are not being acknowledged in new sustainability/environmental regulations, material specifications and procurement policies, despite the facts in favour of timber.

Natural timber products

›   have an extremely low embodied energy in manufacture
›   are highly durable and long lasting when designed and maintained correctly
›   require little energy and other resources for recycling
›   become building waste or demolition materials which can be directly reused or recycled into other products
›   at end of life can be burnt as biomass to produce energy. This displaces dirtier and non-renewable fossil fuels and therefore reduces overall carbon dioxide emissions
›   are unique in that trees harvested can be regrown and replaced while other materials are finite in supply
›   are created from trees which, in growing, lock in carbon and release oxygen*
›   store carbon in land fill.

* Plant growth is a process of photosynthesis. Using solar energy, atmospheric carbon dioxide is taken up and converted into oxygen, which is emitted, and carbon, which is stored by the growing tree. Overall the air is cleaner when a tree grows - because of uptake of carbon dioxide and the release of life-giving oxygen.

Engineered, composite and treated timber products have many of the same advantages and are already maximising efficient use of timber resources and waste materials.

Wood Products Victoria aims to ensure that timber products are better represented in current and future sustainability/environmental regulations, material specifications and procurement policies and timber taking its natural place.

timber sustainability map

timber sustainability map

Our timber sustainability map diagrammatically summarises the positive aspects of timber for the environment, including its potential for carbon offsets and carbon trading, a life cycle analysis overview and extended producer responsibility (EPR).

Click on the adjacent image to view the timber sustainability map in greater detail.

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