How will climate change affect timber quality?

Climate change is not a prediction, it is a current certainty. We are already seeing changes to our planet as the world warms and our greenhouse gases alter the atmosphere, but there are many more still to be seen. One such change will be to the trees that provide us with timber, which could find its characteristics altered by the rising temperatures and harsher conditions of the planet we share.

Climate Change and Forestry: How Do They Connect?

Currently, scientists are rushing to persuade world leaders and businesses to push for a climate increase of no more than 2?. However, although plans are already underway to deal with the potential emergency of an increase of 4? before 2100, we are set to breach 1.5? by 2027, the impacts of which are not entirely known yet.

In terms of forestry, these changes in temperature could have direct impacts on timber and the industry which surrounds it. Rising temperatures are changing the conditions in which trees are used to growing, and extreme weather events could have lasting impacts on the world’s forests.

How Would Timber Quality Change?

It is likely that changes to our climate will directly affect the growth rates of trees around the world. On some sites, growth may speed up as they enjoy warmer temperatures and increased water. On other sites, the heat may become too much and drought could drastically reduce growth rates.

These changes can affect the quality of timber and its properties. Increased growth rate, where trees grow faster than we are used to, could change the density and stiffness of the wood, potentially creating less durable and weaker timber. Trees which take longer to grow may see an increase in Lammas growth, as well as a rise in knots. Overall, the quality of the timber would be reduced.

Could Trees Become Scarcer?

There is a real risk that rising temperatures could not only affect timber quality but also quantity. Extreme events, such as flooding, wildfires and droughts, as well as a rise in diseases and pests related to increasing temperatures, could lead to a decrease in the number of trees we have. Without appropriate measures, our forests could struggle to survive in a world of higher temperatures.

This would lead not only to global health issues and the risk of losing valuable ecosystems, but the price of timber would skyrocket. Any wood which was able to be harvested, as well as wood which is already in use, would see a huge increase in value. In other words, keep hold of your hardwood decking boards, people!

Source FSC-Certified Timber

We know that climate change is worrying and it is not always enjoyable to hear about future predictions, but it is important. If you want to help our planet whilst still purchasing the timber you need, our team can help. At EcoChoice, we only ever source timber from responsibly managed forests where the woodland is left to replenish naturally, making it the ecologically responsible option. Get in touch to learn more, and let us all make the effort to respect our planet a little more.

Image: Sepp photography /

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