Sustainable forestry and timber

Timber stack
Forestry and timber production that help natural forests thrive

Help us deliver tailored solutions in forest landscapes that meet demand for jobs and timber, while ensuring that native forests are conserved for the future.

Challenge
Timber is an extremely valuable, renewable resource that we rely on every day: for buildings and furniture, to provide energy, or transformed into paper for work and study.

It is possible for well-managed forests to provide timber along with jobs and income for local people, whilst maintaining rich biodiversity and storing carbon. Well-designed plantations can also help meet the need for timber and protect natural forests from exploitation.

However, in many areas poor management and unsustainable harvesting both by local people and companies has left forests felled and degraded. In Tanzania, poverty and demand for fuelwood have led to unsustainable harvesting, with damage and loss of huge areas of forest, whilst in Uganda, the demand for timber is driving logging into protected areas that are home to endangered wildlife. Commercial harvesting in tropical forests, if poorly managed, can start a process of degradation that ultimately results in the land being converted to agriculture and the forest lost altogether. Tackling this challenge can deliver multiple benefits, ensuring a sustainable supply of timber and boosting incomes for local communities, alongside protecting forests and the wildlife that depends upon them.
 

Old growth rainforest tree
Solution
Initiatives to restore and improve the management of forests for timber can deliver huge benefits for people, wildlife and the climate.

In some areas, actions to improve the efficiency of timber production – through improved harvesting and processing of timber from native forests, or well-designed plantations - can reduce the pressure on natural forests, allowing them to recover naturally. For example in Tanzania, training communities in improved forest management and ensuring they have the right training and equipment to harvest trees and process logs with less waste means greater income is generated, while also improving the condition of the forest.

In other places, replanting commercial timber species amongst native species can create new sources of jobs and income while restoring forest landscapes. The Atlantic Forest of South America has seen transformation of degraded landscapes, by creation of new sustainably-managed large-scale plantations surrounded by native forest. The presence of native forest not only supports wildlife but also improves the health of the timber plantation. These initiatives restore connectivity to the landscape while also being financially sustainable. In Uganda, woodlots owned by smallholders can be used as tree farms: offering the potential to create economic opportunities for local communities, while helping protect existing forests by creating a sustainable source of timber.

Through Trillion Trees, we are supporting projects that will protect and restore natural forests while ensuring a sustainable supply of timber.