Sustainable forest management is good for biodiversity

Sustainable forest management is good for biodiversity

ARTICLE · By Timber Trade Federation · 11 Aug 2020

Forests are the epicentre of all life on earth, supporting 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, helping us combat climate change, regulate our quality of water, and provide 1.6 billion jobs across the world. It is only through sustainable forest management that this continues. 

Sustainably managed forests balance the needs of the environment, wildlife and forest communities to protect and maintain biodiversity, while also performing ecological, economic and social functions at a local, national, and global level.

This is important as we are in a biodiversity emergency, with around 1 million animal and plant species threatened with extinction, with many within decades – according to the 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

In the distant past there were misconceptions that the forest industry worked in opposition to the need to support biodiversity.  Confor’s latest report, ‘Biodiversity, forestry and wood’ is a confirmation of the detailed attention which biodiversity protection is now given in modern forestry management.

They state that sustainably managed forests are critical to maintaining and enhancing biodiversity in forests and by using sensitive extraction techniques such as thinning and coppicing of trees this can be enriched. For example, a study of bats in native broadleaf woodland found that thinned woodland supported a significantly higher richness of bats in numbers and species diversity. In addition, a recent study of dormice in hazel found a 72% decline between 1993 and 2014, caused by a decline in coppicing and species conservation concerns.

These studies reveal the significant value that sustainable forest management delivers in supporting the UK’s biodiversity. Sustainable forest management practices also contributes to maintaining our forest cover and plays a role in safeguarding species from becoming extinct in the UK, reducing climate change, and creating jobs in our growing green economy.

As the second largest importer of timber in the world after China, the UK is well placed to influence the uptake of global sustainable forestry management practices.

Through the Timber Trade Federation’s strict Code of Conduct and our Responsible Purchasing Process (RPP) due diligence system, customers know they are getting ‘Timber they can Trust’.  When dealing with TTF members, our industry’s customers are helping to grow the world’s forests and support biodiversity.

In part thanks to the support of our members, the tally of forests covered by both Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) has grown to cover 521 million hectares of certified forests around the world.

The TTF have also been ongoing supporters of FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade), which aims to reduce illegal logging in developing countries by strengthening sustainable and legal forest management, improving governance, and promoting trade in legally produced timber.

One country that has benefitted greatly from FLEGT licencing is Indonesia. Illegal logging is grinding to a halt, thanks to the efforts of NGOs, firms, and the Government which has allowed the country to become the first recognised FLEGT country. This is significant, because their forests may only cover 1.3% of the world’s landmass, but it is home to roughly 11% of the world’s flowering plants and 13% of mammals.

As we recover from the pandemic and acknowledge the climate emergency we face, sustainably managed forests are becoming recognised for their role as a nature-based solution to solving the world’s most pressing issues. Supporting the growth of sustainable forest management, whether through your words or wallets, is essential for safeguarding biodiversity.