Challenging connotations of tropical timber

Challenging Connotations of Tropical Timber

BLOG · BY TTF FLEGT Communications Executive Lucy Bedry · 26 March

The Timber Trade Federation plays a key role in promoting timber as a leading low-carbon material and its role in helping decarbonise manufacturing, construction and design.

To maintain and enhance timber’s sustainable reputation at a national, European and international level, the TTF promote a range of market forces to protect forests – our greatest resource in the battle against climate change. Evidence shows that when forestry is done right, it can transform communities, livelihoods and support biodiversity while reducing and sequestering carbon.

In a recent live Dezeen talk between David Hopkins, TTF CEO and Marcus Fairs, Dezeen editor-in-chief, David laid out the principles behind the TTF’s Forest Law Enforcement Governance Trade (FLEGT) communications project, including the recent Conversations about Climate Change series and ambitions to tackle perceptions associated with tropical timber.

Specifying tropical timber can “play a key role in the climate change battle”, says Timber Trade Federation.

Conversations about Climate Change presents an opportunity for architects, designers and craftspeople to think about their relationship with timber and the potential for climate change mitigation.

“To do this we have used one of the most controversial areas – which is tropical forests and tropical timber – to challenge negative connotations associated”, David Hopkins, says.

Prompting an investigation into tropical timber, the design brief for Conversations about Climate Change, underpinned analysis into the country of origin, properties and aesthetic qualities of a palette of tropical hardwood species. Designs needed to stimulate a conversation about material provenance and its place in the climate debate, enabling designers to examine the role and impact that their material specification can have.

The six installations presented provoke discourse of tropical timber in the lead up to the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, and their role in mitigating some of the detrimental impacts of climate change. Conversations focus on issues from rising temperatures and sea level, sustainable forest management, resource extraction, carbon sequestration and the interconnection of humans and forests.

“There is a lot of positive work within tropical forestry which we wanted to highlight to designers and architects with a series of installations looking at encouraging people to make ‘conversation pieces’ – about climate change. And further to explore the role of tropical timber within that debate”.

Sourcing timber from areas with strong governance, good sustainable forest management policies and from sources where communities can reap the benefits from trading with sustainable timber, is an industry that grows and manages those trees. This actively works against illegal logging; deforestation pressures and clearing forest cover for other commodity use. “A strong system of governance and legal framework covering forests for business and civil society to work within it, is a key requisite for keeping forests well managed and safe”, concluded Hopkins.

The TTF will showcase the FLEGT Action Plan, the role of tropical timber in the climate emergency and further challenge perceptions around tropical timber at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in November.