Forest Management: Climate Conversations

Climate Conversations: Forest Management

ARTICLE · By Lucy Bedry TTF FLEGT Communications Executive · 06 April 2021

Evidence proves that timber trading through sustainable forest management practices is one of the best ways to keep trees and habitats standing, while also providing a viable income for local communities. 

Economies revolve around commodities: the use ofdemand for, and global tradingThere are and will always be multiplecompeting pressures on land and for land use. These drivers need to be balanced in a manner that enables demand for materials and resources to be met sustainable, will ensuring that habitats and biodiversities are preserved.  

Sustainable forest management is the principle to “maintain and enhance the economic, social and environmental values of all types of forests, for the benefit of present and future generations”. 

Tom Wilson, designer of the Forest Dwellers for the Conversations about Climate Change exhibition, prompts questions around the role of sustainable forest management to contribute to ethical and sustainable economies in addition to safeguarding habitats and biodiversity.  

Embedding sustainable and responsible forest management within the timber trade may seem contradictory. However, timber production relies on trees to be standing for a continuation of the trade. Evidence proves that timber trading through sustainable forest management practices is one of the best ways to keep trees and habitats standing, while also providing a viable income for local communities. 

“When you are sourcing timber from areas with good governance, areas which have good management plans in place, then they are actively working against the illegal logging and actively working against deforestation pressures which exist in those countries”, David Hopkins explains through the recent Dezeen X TTF live 


Interholco is one of the largest producing companies of African tropical hardwood, sorcerers of the timber for Forest Dwellers and a shining example of successful sustainable forest management. As the largest FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified tropical timber concession with 1.16 million hectares of natural forest area in the Republic of Congo, Interholco utilises 69% of the area for production, 27% for conservation/ protection and 4% for rural development.  

Their forest harvesting policy is 1 tree every 2 hectares on average (i.e., 1 tree every 2-3 football fields), only once every 30 years. This method of harvesting and conservation in close harmony allow various species to regenerate, biodiversity and the forest to bolster and species to be undisturbed.  


Other land uses, such as agriculture, mining and growing cash crops, are financially motivated by short term investments. These commodities involve removing trees and forest cover, changes to land use and motivate deforestation and forest degradation. Large-scale commercial agriculture accounted for 40% of tropical deforestation between 2000-2010, the main driver of deforestation, forest degradation and associated loss of forest biodiversity (FAO). 

Managing forests in a sustainable way can maintain or enhance forest carbon stocks and maintains forest carbon sinks. 

The UK and many countries in Europe are leaders in sustainable forest management practices. Forests in Europe have grown by 58,390 square kilometres, an area bigger than Switzerland and equivalent to 1,500 football pitches of forest growth every day.   

The benefits of sustainable forest management by its nature of sustainable development can be three-fold across social, economic, and environmental. Sustainable forest management can provide 17 times more economic value than strict conservation: creating social value, local development, and employment opportunities. This enables communities to reap the benefits of sustainable timber production. 

Through global initiatives like FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade), the UK is working with the EU to extend these practices to the tropics. This will strengthen a global market for sustainable timberpreserving forest cover and enable sustainable developmentMaintaining forest cover through responsible and legal trade, strengthening law, enforcement and regulation, can largely be benefited by FLEGT. In addition, the actions involved in country-specific Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) can bolster efforts of certification and other policies working in tropical countries. 


The conversation of sustainable forest management has been explored in greater detail by Tom Wilson of Curio Studio through his Forest Dwellers creation.

Explore the ‘In Conversation with Tom Wilson’ to find out more about his intended conversation through design here for the Conversations about Climate Change virtual exhibition here.


Forest Dwellers, Tom Wilson © Chris Jackson / Building Centre


Timber supplied by Interholco, a sister partner company to TTF member Danzer UK.

Timber for the Conversations about Climate Change exhibition has been sourced through Timber Trade Federation members, in line with the TTFs Responsible Purchasing Policy – a risk management for the continuous improvement of TTF Members’ awareness of obligations under the EU / UK Timber Regulation (EUTR/ UKTR), the Constructions Product Regulation (CPR) and TTF Code of Conducts.


Image cover: Luc Huyghebaert for Unsplash