Timber by Numbers: The Amazing Facts and Figures of European Forestry

Timber is everywhere. It is used in the foundations of homes, to create public piers and as decking in your own back garden. This is not a new trend either: humans have been using timber for thousands upon thousands of years! But how much do you actually know about it? To spread some knowledge and celebrate this versatile building material, our team at EcoChoice has put together a few timber facts we think everyone should know. Read on and enjoy!

Timber Is a Huge Storage of Carbon

Trees are well-known for converting CO? into oxygen, but did you know that their timber is an incredible store for the notorious greenhouse gas? In fact, just 1m³ of wood can store 1 tonne of carbon dioxide! This makes forests an absolute essential for our planet, absorbing plenty of CO? to keep levels in our atmosphere lower. 

However, if a tree is left to rot and die, then the CO? is released again. But by sustainably harvesting the tree and using it in construction, thus preventing the timber from decaying, the greenhouse gas stays stored inside the wood far longer and helps our planet stay cooler. 

The Timber Industry Is a Big Employer

The wood industry employs approximately two million people across Europe. That includes the people maintaining the forests, processing felled trees and sourcing sustainable timber for people across the world (as we do at EcoChoice!). There are a wealth of jobs involved, making it a valuable part of the world’s economy.

It also creates around €200,000,000,000 every year, which is a figure we can barely comprehend. This comes from over 350,000 companies, and the wealth is spread across private corporations and governments. 

Europe’s Forest Is Growing!

There’s no doubt that deforestation is a hugely important global issue. But luckily we are not doing too badly here in Europe. In fact, we have added enough forest area to fill Belgium five times over in the past twenty years. That leads to more biodiversity, cooler temperatures and less CO? in the atmosphere. 

Other parts of the world are a mixed bag in terms of forest growth and loss. Between 2010 and 2015, Brazil saw the largest decrease in forest, losing 1 million hectares per year. Meanwhile, China gained the most, seeing an additional 1.5 million hectares of forested area added to their landscape every year.

The reason for this growth is largely down to watching the annual forest increment (AFI). If we harvested 100% of the AFI, forest land would remain the same. But, currently, we are only harvesting 64%, leaving plenty more trees to grow and our forest land to expand.

CO? Storage Around the World

We have already established that timber is a brilliant carbon store, but how does this affect our world? Well, Europe’s total forest land stores 9,552 million tonnes of CO? (and counting!), and the wood products currently in use are storing a further 60 million tonnes. Global tropical forests store a further 1.4 billion metric tonnes of CO? and all the world's forests absorb about 2.5 million tonnes.

In other words, without forests, we would not have an atmosphere in which we could live. In fact, 80% of animal and plant life would quickly become extinct if all forests were removed from the planet, and it is unlikely the world would continue to sustain life as we know it for much longer. 

Support Sustainable Forests With EcoChoice

At EcoChoice, we value the world’s forests and know just how important they are for our planet. That is why we help you source sustainable timber from responsibly managed forests. To learn more or find the ideal timber species for your project, get in touch with our team today!

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