Today there is a growing interest in sustainable business practices. While I never thought much about this in the past, I recently drove through a clear-cut forest and realized that how raw materials are harvested from the planet has a big impact on our quality of life. The problem is that quick and easy harvests leave the earth vulnerable to erosion, ecosystem destruction and the elimination of natural pollution filters. As an avid woodworker, I now understand that it is important for me to be more selective when it comes to where my wood comes from and how it is harvested.
Sustainable Forest Management
Sustainable forest management basically refers to management practices that allow for the sustainment of a healthy forest. These practices include replanting and selective harvesting strategies that keep the quality of the local ecosystem in place, while still harvesting enough timber for commercial profit. It is a win-win scenario. These practices ensure that forests will remain healthy and productive, so that they not only enable people to make money, but also they will ensure that forests provide habitat, erosion protection and air pollution filtration processes necessary to a healthy life.
Non-sustainable Forest Management
So we know that the benefits of sustainable forest management are stronger ecosystems and renewable resources. However, why is it not a good idea to also utilize products taken from non-sustainable forest management systems? The answer is that these operations are abusive to the environment and they frequently break domestic and international laws. Wood products from the former Soviet Union, for example, often are harvested illegally through clear-cut methods that destroy ancient forests and deprive legitimate businesses with income they have legal rights to.
Sustainable Wood Product Businesses
Being a sustainable wood product business means more than just being aware that some wood products are ecologically more sound than others. It also means making a conscious decision to do what is right for the environment and for customers.
The easiest way to accomplish this is to utilize wood harvested in a sustainable and/or ecologically sound manner. You can do this either by purchasing wood from a certified sustainable timber provider, or it can mean using reclaimed, recycled and naturally fallen wood. For example, there is a huge market for reclaimed wood from old barns and other buildings. These wood items include floor planks, siding and floor joists. Reusing these items reduces the number of new trees that have to be cut down for a construction project. This shows that being a sustainable wood product business, does not mean you have to spend more money. It just means you have to be a little more innovative when it comes to finding materials.
Madeline Binder loves woodworking, particularly when it comes to creating items that can be passed down from one generation to the next. This is obvious when you see her train table plans and the The Train Store where you can find treasured wooden toys.