Complete beginner’s guide to buying sustainable wood


With the world order fast deteriorating and the environmental degradation a constant phenomenon, it is a common practice for people who are even slightly educated to look for more sustainable options. Wood is one item that we can hardly do without. At the same time the use of wood implies deforestation.

Can we then identify something as sustainable wood? Yes we can and there are many options to choose from where you would get your wood and it would also prove to be sustainable. In this article we will be telling you about such tips to buying sustainable wood. Here you will find everything you need to know to identify sustainable wood suitable for your purpose.

What is sustainable wood?

sustainable-woodSustainable wood is simply one that is obtained from the forests that are sustainably managed. Instead of unregulated deforestation clearing vast stretches of land, sustainable practices that the forests are protected and the deforested parts are replaced so that the next generation gets to see the forests when they grow up.  Buying sustainable wood is thus one of the great services to environment that you can make.

Why buying sustainable wood is important?

Apparently it might seem of little importance that a forest land far away is getting exploited. But you now know that the impacts are all over the world and even damage to the Amazon Rainforest thousands of miles away can spell doom for you. Apart from this, all forests support a set of wildlife and people.

The rights of these people are abused and the habitats of these animals are threatened and this results in a situation where the ecosystem is in great danger. Thus you need to look for eco friendly alternatives of wood to avoid these problems. It is however not as easy as it sounds to choose sustainable wood as only 8% of the world has forest protection practices and the rest is all about illegal felling of trees and abuse of the environment.

The most sustainable woods

pineTimber, be it the hardwood or the softwood variants, is considered to be fairly sustainable as sources for wood. This is due to the fact that trees like pine, fir, etc. grow back really fast to negate the damage done by deforestation. Oak forests are not the fastest growers but even these can be managed to be sustainable. A very reliable source for sustainable wood is the forests of Europe as the EU has many guidelines and strict scrutiny to supervise the usage of wood.

However, even here you need to be careful about Russian and Ukraine or Poland products as there have been reports of illegal logging in parts of these countries. The safest bet to obtain the sustainable wood is to look for the certification of The Forest Stewardship Council. This is a no profit organization and is internationally recognized as an authentic mark of sustainable wood. As a part of the beginner’s guide we must tell you that the mark of this organization is one of the sure shot ways to ensure that you are indulging in the safest usage of wood that is possible.

Some of the wood species that you must avoid

Like we already discussed, some of the more popular wood variants are just not sustainable enough and have an irreparable impact on the environment. For starters try to avoid the following wood variants if buying sustainable wood is your motive.

  • Ebony
  • Murbau
  • Sapelee
  • Wenge
  • Brazilian Mahogany
  • Burmese teak and the teak in general

If you stay clear of using these woods in your houses you are halfway down the road that takes you to sustainable wood usage. This is pretty much everything you need to know regarding what to stay away from. Now just pay attention to the wood variants that are or can be sustainable and you can use them without damaging the environment.

What to pick while buying sustainable wood


  1. Bamboo: FSC certified bamboo is not a reality but yet bamboo is one of the most sustainable wood variants that you can lay your hands upon. This is because it grows fast and there are way too many species of bamboo in abundance all over the world. However that does not mean that any kind of bamboo usage would be sustainable. Remember that exotic species like the Giant Panda and the Mountain Gorilla face huge threats because of large scale destruction of bamboo habitats and their food sources. Your best bet thus would be to source the bamboo from International Network for Bamboo website.
  2. Oak: One of the finest wood variants and this can also be sustainable if you are careful. Be sure to pick the oak that has been certified by the FSC and be sure to stay clear of the controversial oak sources like Russia Poland etc. If buying sustainable wood is the motive, the careful selection of oak can be your solution.
  3. Teak: A lot of the teak that you will find will not have the authenticity of being sustainable. So while you can use teak as a sustainable wood variant, you must ensure that the teak you are using is FSC certified and not some vulnerable teak form like the African teak.
  4. Mahogany: While Brazilian mahogany and African mahogany are definitely not sustainable wood sources, the FSC certified Jatoba and Andiroba are better as their alternatives. At least then you can be sure that you are buying sustainable wood.
  5. Douglas Fir: This again is a wood variant that faces a lot of illegal logging for instance in Canada. Douglas Fir however, if obtained from FSC certified sources can be a sustainable solution and also prove to be a very useful wood variant.

Final words

If you want there are eco friendly alternatives to everything, even wood. Just like they say, when there is a will there is a way and if you really want to you can take to such practices. This article will be just the right beginner’s guide for you and will help you learn all a about the sustainable wood usage that you want to know more about.

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