In Conversation: Tropical Timber & FLEGT

In Conversation: Tropical timber & FLEGT

ARTICLE · By Lucy Bedry · 29 September 2020

Last month (August 2020), ACAN’s Kat Scott conversed with David Hopkins on climate change and tropical timber ahead of the Timber Trade Federation’s Conversations about Climate Change exhibition.

Shedding light on the importance of governance in tropical forests and particularly focusing on the FLEGT (EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade Action Plan) framework – David Hopkins, set out the rationale for Conversations about Climate Change and using responsibly sourced tropical timbers.

The problem of illegal logging and deforestation in the tropics is significant and one that requires immediate attention – relating to the potential impact for carbon storage and climate change mitigation. One of the main drivers of deforestation in tropical forests is agriculture – 49% of tropical deforestation between 2000-2012 was as a result of illegal conversion of forests for commercial agriculture (Forest Trends, 2014). There is additional pressure on the land from soybean production, cattle, palm oil, cocoa, and other similar commodity use. All of these encroaches on the forest and land.

One of the reasons that this continues in tropical regions is due to the lack of regimented legal framework within the countries, to allow for planned land or forest management – to balance out these variants on what is a limited resource.

Through the TTF FLEGT project – Conversations about Climate Change –  we are raising awareness for designers, specifiers and architects to connect with the materials they are using and specifying.  A further encouragement of conversations to explore country of origin, impact that they have, other pressures surrounding these resources and to raise awareness of the FLEGT Action Plan, instigated through Voluntary Partnership Agreements.

Why now? This November the UK was awarded the opportunity to host the COP26, UN Climate Change talks, which the TTF would have been involved in. Government, policy makers and other stakeholders have woken up to the idea that forestry and forests are an essential part to achieving the emissions reduction needed, including carbon capture and storage, and are vital for a whole range of ecosystem services. We wanted to show that timber and timber production can be a part of that solution, through sustainable forest management.

Conversation continued exploring the FLEGT Action Plan for reducing deforestation, using tropical hardwood and best practices for challenging misconceptions and education. You can view the full conversation here