The European Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition (STTC) , an alliance dedicated to increasing the demand for certified timber and the sustainable harvest of tropical wood, recently informed about an interesting new calculating tool.
A collaboration between FSC Netherlands and the global business consultancy Ernst & Young (EY) brought about a new calculator, which calibrates the impact for using FSC-certified versus using uncertified timber.
The approach is based on the assumption that harvesting FSC-certified timber will not cause substantial biodiversity loss, and that FSC certification is prerequisite for natural forest regeneration, so that net emission of carbon will be close to zero. It further calculates, assuming that harvested timber from unknown origins will be substituted by conventional crops – possibly mono cultures – which will then have a loss of all biodiversity as a consequence additional to carbon released in the course of cutting the original forest. The cost of maintaining the impact of such environmental interference to society are expressed as additional values, calibrated at the end.
So how does this calculator actually work? For the proper calculation, the online FSC Impact Calculator requires the timber species, which has to be selected by the user. Once the species is determined the calculator produces the requested value in € per m3 . This value indicates net CO2 emissions and the potential loss of biodiversity, or rather the avoided loss of biodiversity given that FSC-certified timber was harvested. The calibrations are based on the eco-costs model, which was established at the Delft University of Technology.
And how does it come off when used in practice? FSC Netherlands is already able to present a good example of real life hard-wood applications, with 547- property projects, for which the housing corporation used FSC-certified mahogany for 365m3 which, in the case of using uncertified timber (according to the FSC Impact Calculator), would have had environmental costs of over 570,000 €.
The tool additionally indicates social values of harvesting FSC-certified timber, such as forests being the main source for sustaining many livelihoods.
The FSC Calculator has the potential to help decrease the negative impact of harvesting uncertified wood, while possibly increasing the market share of FSC-certified wood, explained Ernst & Young. And with that it hopefully supports sustaining biodiversity and natural forest regeneration.
For more information on the tool and its practical appliances, check out the STTC.