Tropical timber is often misleadingly presented as a problem and can be used a symbol of deforestation, but in fact, if managed correctly, timber can have very little impact on forest ecosystems and can sustain local economies.
International demand for timber is an incentive for the development of sustainable forestry in tropical forests. Without this demand, there is the risk of certification being abolished, and the area could become vulnerable to illegal logging or other kinds of land use at the expense of forests. It is therefore important to purchase timber from sustainable tropical forestry to support responsible development in the tropical areas.
However, some species of timber are at risk of extinction due to over-harvesting. There are more than 50,000 species of timber around the world, yet only a small proportion of these are used commercially. Lesser-known timber species are currently under-utilised but bringing them from FSC-certified forests to the market could relieve pressure on the most used species.
FSC have developed a Lesser Known Timber Species website and database to inspire and guide timber and wood users to look for a more diverse selection of timber species. The project aims to develop a more diverse timber market to support sustainable forestry and improve pricing and regional development. Click here to visit the website.
The project is also working in the Congo Basin to increase demand of FSC-certified tropical timber and Lesser Known Timber Species and to increase hectares of FSC-certified forests. This has been supported by Ali Bongo Ondimba, the President of Gabon, who has declared that as of 2022, all forest concessions operating in Gabon must be FSC certified. Earlier this year, Lee White, the Gabon’s Minister of Water and Forests, signed a co-operation agreement with FSC.
More positive news for the project came in May 2020, when FSC Congo Basin announced that CIB-Olam, located in Pokola in the Sangha region of northern Republic of Congo obtained an additional FSC certificate, meaning 2.9 million hectares of forest are now FSC certified in the Republic of Congo.
Earlier this year, FSC-certified forest management areas reached 1,087,349 hectares in Peru. Despite the difficult times we are all facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, initiatives to preserve and use forest resources responsibly are still active, which is encouraging news for everyone.
FSC Denmark are collecting examples of the use of lesser-known tropical timber species from a broad range of wood users, such as designers, architects, producers, businesses, and project owners. This is a great opportunity to promote your products or projects made with FSC certified LKTS species! Contact Kristian Jørgensen, Project Coordinator: k.jorgensen at dk.fsc point org if interested.