Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Case Study: Precious Woods

What is ‘Precious Woods’? 

Precious Woods has been managing 450'000 hectares of its own land – mainly forest - in Itacoatiara (250 km east of Manaus, Brazil) sustainably since 1996. They use methods which imitate nature and maintain its biodiversity, and harvestry is kept within strict limits. They sell over 70 different species of wood, helping develop the market for lesser known species. In 1997, Precious Woods operations were certified in agreement with the criteria of the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).

What they do

Precious Woods work divides into 4 sections; 

  • Forest management. Precious Woods' forests in Brazil and Gabun are managed in a sustainable way, which means that no more wood is harvested than can grown back at the same time, and that the value and size of the forest is conserved.
  • Reforestations. From 1990, Precious Woods has reforested over 6,200 hectares of deserted pastureland in Costa Rica with precious timber species such as ‘pochote’ and ‘teak’, and 20 other local species.
  • Trading. In Holland the certified rainforest timber is sold to European clients. In Brazil a supporting team manage sales to customers in South America, Asia and North America and a team in Central America manage domestic sales.
  • Energy und CO2. An important part of Precious Woods' sustainable forestry is the use of leftover waste wood to provide electricity, and sale and registration of carbon emission rights.

Forest Management 

In Brazil they work in existing forests were their trees are harvested at regular intervals, however the forest in terms of both quality and quantity, is preserved. An inventory means loggers select which of the trees from among more than 70 species will be harvested. Logging is carried out with the help of appropriate materials and techniques to ensure the impact on nature is as low as possible. An extensive network of Preservation Areas creates biological corridors throughout the entire forest.

Who is the FSC?

The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) is an international, non-governmental group dedicated to promoting responsible and sustainable management of the world’s forests. It was founded in 1993 in response to public concern about deforestation and demand for a trustworthy wood-labelling scheme. The FSC establishes international values and criteria for forest management and appoints certification boards which assess forestry companies according to how well they comply with the rules. In 1997 Precious Woods Amazon was the first business based in the Amazon to be approved by the FSC (in accordance with the criteria) under the Rainforest Alliance's Smartwood program. All of the sections of ‘Precious Woods’ have now been certified by the FSC.

Why should companies buy lesser known species of wood? 

The use of lesser-known timber species reduces pressure on well-known timber and increases the economic capability of sustainable forest management. Many less known species have dramatic, vibrant colours and textures, giving interesting new designs for architects and designers and show the remarkable alternatives to well-known species for many applications that the rainforest can provide, in terms of both price and quality.

Criticisms of sustainable forestry technique

There isn't a clear definition of the standards, so anyone can claim to be complying to the regulations, and no one can prove anything against them. They also only list parameters to be measured and not any performance standards. In practice, the sustainable forestry techniques have failed to benefit forest communities or national economies, and in some cases are not even sustainable. These techniques also emit large quantities of carbon and are only delaying the death of the rainforest not preserving. Preservation is the only way to save the rainforest for future generations, and especially for the ingenious tribes which have made it their home. Taking trees still damages the rainforest, which is an ancient and complex ecosystem. Many logging companies see sustainable forestry as a con, because it damages the forest and any destruction is irreversible.

No comments:

Post a Comment