More and More Wood: but is this Growth Sustainable?

Jan 11, 2017 | written by:

You know, evolution is made of historical recurs. It should not be therefore very surprising that the current trend of the material of the future wants the good old wood. But which impacts does the wide use of this natural resource, chosen for its sustainability, generate in the chain of world production?

FAO, Food and Agriculture Organization, has recently published its annual report introducing for the first time in its statistics the global wood production data. The numbers are growing, as is the case for six years now, and mark an increase of between 1 and 8% depending on the geographical areas considered. The root of this increase is to search undertaken by the construction sector and the promotion of the use of biofuels in environmentally friendly twist.

"It is the beginning of the age of the timber" said the English architect Andrew Waugh, head of a project for residential development in London which has the world record as timber volumes used. Is the construction sector to drive the increase in raw material requirements, with a significant prevalence of requests from Asia and North America. With their advent and then their prevalence, the tiny houses have done their part: the small housing units aimed at sustainability using environmentally friendly building materials. An example is 'Diogenes', the mini-home designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano, which takes its name from the Greek philosopher who chose to live in a barrel to get away from the conventional life.

Another trend to underline is the surge in production of pellets, especially in Europe: the demand for biofuels has grown tenfold in the last decade, reaching in 2015 to 28 million tons. These trends in growing, pairing a drop in prices: the value of the wood, and consequently the paper, sold worldwide fell from 267 billion to 236 billion dollars.

The use of wood instead of other materials that cause the emission of high volumes of CO2 atmosphere, is a positive signal in terms of sustainability, but it raises attention to the responsible development of the supply chain from forests. Off to good reuse and recycling practices, according to the virtuous mechanisms of circular economy. Example the case of the paper industry: to date the 'secondary raw material', the recycled paper, covers more than half (55%) of the fibers used for the production needs. An encouraging increase of 54% compared to 2000. The recycling civic consciousness begins to take root, just as the trees!

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