LESSER KNOWN TIMBER SPECIES AND CARBON MARKET POTENTIALS
The destruction of tropical rain forest is one of the important topics in international meetings to find ways to sequester carbon and address climate change related problems. This is rightly so because of the role that the forest plays when conserved or when managed in a responsible manner. The responsible management of forest in general as promoted by forest certification schemes like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and international ENGO like WWF and IUCN, achieve the objectives of forest conservation, social and economic sound forest management by partly encouraging and promoting the diversification of the production of forest benefits. Lesser Known Timber Species (LKTS) are gradually gaining favor as alternative to traditionally harvested timber species like Mahogany (Swietenia spp), Afrormosia (Pericopsis elata), Ramin (Gonostylus spp), Meranti (Shorea spp) and Rosewood (Dalbergia spp); as they increasingly come under threat of extinction.
From carbon sequestration point of view, the forest plays a crucial role in acting as carbon sinks. Through photosynthesis, trees absorb carbon. In a well-managed forest, old trees are encouraged to be left in the forest untouched. These trees eventually die, and as they decompose most of their stored carbon is released to the air (apart from a little that remains in leaf-litter and topsoil) – making an almost neutral impact on atmospheric carbon over their life. In addition to this, diversifying and including LKTS in forest management plans followed by replanting harvested species, makes sure one specie is not over exploited but there is a general balance in the number of trees that is taken out of the forest, by so doing there is a lesser impact on the amount of carbon that is release from forest management activities. The continuous focus on traditional commercial species mean that at some point there is an imbalance in the general health of the forest ecosystem. Biodiversity is increases with less threatened species and the value of the forest is improved. Given the environmental concerns nowadays, a forest with improved value stand little chance of being converted into other land use systems with fewer environmental values. Such a forest will also be crucial to meeting wood demand in the long term.
Sourcing LKTS especially from well managed forest sustains ecological, carbon, nutrient and water cycles in forests and reduces the susceptibility of tree species to diseases and fire. In order to achieve the environmental objectives promoted by certification, forest managers will need to reduce the volume of wood extracted from the forest each harvesting cycle if only high market value species are utilized, which in turn could reduce revenues in the short term. But using LKTS can help managers to reach a certain threshold of wood extraction per acre that makes responsible forest management economically viable.
At Greenwood International, we aim to source from forest that is managed in accordance with the sustainable forest management requirements of FSC certification scheme. This is because FSC forest management standards already require forest managers to maintain/conserve or enhance/restore ecosystem services and environmental values. They also require the managers of FSC-certified forests to identify, produce, or enable the production of diversified benefits and/ or products based on the range of resources and ecosystem services existing in the management unit. The forest manager has the option to reach out to ecosystem markets like carbon markets to make claims of carbon stock and trade in them. Through our sourcing FSC timber, we see an opportunity to work with certified companies to look for/create and promote LKTS and by so doing provide additional reason to claim for carbon stock in their certified forest.
When buying from a sustainable forest, you can choose between different kinds of timber. Globally, we can distinguish about 50,000 varieties of timber, while only making use of a few. Up to 93% of tropical forest timber volume consists of LKTS and many such species are currently being burnt or otherwise wasted after logging operations or forest clearance. Looking at the LKTS many of them are high-quality and can be used in many ways. Utilizing these kinds of timber, we make better use of the forest without exhausting nature.
Our goal is to put a halt to deforestation and forest degradation. To achieve this goal, we want to invest in LKTS by purchasing logs from sustainable community forests in Southeast Asia. Additional impact of purchasing LKTS logs are:
- improving livelihoods;
- protecting biodiversity for generations to come;
- reducing CO2 emissions;
- creating local jobs and
- improving labor and living conditions for the workers.
All the partners we collaborate with for our project and for the production of semi-finished wood products need to endorse our CSR/OESO-guidelines so that our project creates a win-win situation for all parties involved. Greenwoodd+ has a positive impact on 11 of the 17 SDGs.
More information: greenwooddplus.com