Nov 8, 2021
What’s sustainable forestry and why’s it important for the forest?
In this post, we go through what sustainable forestry means and why it’s so important to ensure proper management of forestry ecosystems for our future generations.
Here at EcoTree, we work with sustainable forestry. It’s simply a necessity to ensure that future generations also have the chance to enjoy all the benefits that forests, and trees provide. Unfortunately, the number of forests on the planet is constantly decreasing. But what really characterizes sustainable forestry?
What is sustainable forestry?
Sustainable forestry is not about leaving the forest completely untouched. In fact, the forest can be a resource that is used in a responsible, sustainable, and long-term manner. In many places, forests have been poorly managed in an unsustainable manner, consequently reducing in size or completely disappearing. The opposite of this approach is to conduct sustainable forestry. Through sustainable forestry, the forest can be both utilised and preserved at the same time. There needs to be balance – and modern approaches can ensure that the forests both flourish and provide at the same time.
The roots of sustainable forestry
When it comes to finding the right balance, the forest must be both cultivated and able to contribute valuable resources to society, but it's equally as important that it's preserved, including its role in biodiversity. In addition, forestry should not result in one-sided monoculture that only consists of certain tree species and sizes.
In sustainable forestry, there is often talk of three goals: biological, economic and socio-cultural. All these areas must be met, which requires both a good balance and approach to sustainability and forestry management.
When we talk about sustainable forestry, the first thing that comes to mind is usually the biological aspect. And that makes sense as a large part of biology consists of protecting ecosystems, preserving biological diversity and implementing climate actions in the best possible way. It’s simply a matter of ensuring that the natural value of our forests continue to flourish in the future.
Wood is a valuable resource used in so many different areas, including construction, which replaces fossil-heavy materials such as cement and steel. Unfortunately, unsustainable forestry has led to skepticism about using the forest as a resource at all. But advocates for sustainable forestry believe that it’s possible to both protect and maintain the forest's ecosystem, and use it as a resource at the same time.
It’s important not to forget the socio-cultural aspect. Forests are a meeting spot for lifestyles, culture, learning and development. People use forests for hiking and biking, as well as to find peace in an often-busy daily lifestyle. The concept of forest bathing has emerged in recent years, building on the lifestyle of meditation and mindfulness.
What does sustainable forestry mean in practice?
Laws, regulations and practices are one thing. But what does sustainable forestry actually mean “on the ground”? Indeed, the interpretations of the term vary, but often it’s about how the owner of the forest chooses to maintain and manage it.
In the past, large forest areas were often felled through so-called clear-cutting farms that created wide open areas as a consequence of this tree felling practice. At EcoTree, we only cut down selected trees instead of clear-cutting. In doing so, the regrowth also takes place step by step, which means that the forests do not become monocultures with only a few tree species in similar sizes.
And this approach is linked to another central part of sustainable forestry. When the forest is allowed to grow in a natural and varied manner, the original ecosystems and their biodiversity are preserved. In monocultures, only certain plants and animals benefit.
The forest - a carbon sink
Something that has received more and more attention is the role of the forest as a carbon sink. Climate change is a major problem, and the reduced amount of forest contributes to intensifying the negative impacts.
Trees bind carbon from the atmosphere as part of their photosynthesis. An increased number of trees and a greater spread of forest can thus be a way of counteracting climate change. In addition, the carbon that’s absorbed from the atmosphere remains locked in the wood for many decades. Therefore, trees - not least sustainable forestry that both preserves forests and contributes with timber – play a vital role as part of the solution to addressing the challenges of climate change.
Why should the forest be used at all?
A question about sustainable forestry that often arises is why the forest should be used as a resource at all. Some believe that the forest should not be touched, but we believe that it makes sense to use the wood for purposes that lock in the carbon, for instance in furniture and construction. The key word here is precisely "sustainability"; meaning that the wood should be used in a way that makes it at least as viable in several hundreds - and even thousands – of years. And then to this end ensure that state-of-the-art, considerate and adapted forestry methods are in place to balance all the important aspects of sustainability and biodiversity of the forests.
Support sustainable forestry - own trees through EcoTree
Do you want to support sustainable forestry and make a contribution to the planet's forests? Then EcoTree may be something for you. We care for forests in Europe, where individuals and companies take ownership over their trees. The idea is that shared ownership incentivizes people and companies to care, thus preserving the forests and securing them for the future.
As a tree owner your trees act as long-term carbon sinks and help preserve the forest's biological diversity. When they’re finally harvested and sold for sustainable timber, new trees are planted in their place, and 100% of the profit is yours.
Let’s get growing!