Is Timber Truly Renewable?

It’s well-known that timber is an eco-friendly building material. Unlike plastic, it is biodegradable and unlike metal, you don’t have to dig deep into the Earth to source it. It’s easily felled from responsibly managed forests, balancing our need to build with the conservation of our wild landscapes.

But one of the most important factors in sustainability is renewability. Renewable materials are those that are infinite, meaning that we will never run out of them. So is timber truly renewable, or is the way we are harvesting it leading to an inevitable end. 

The Lifecycle of Timber

To learn more about timber and whether it’s renewable or not, the first thing to look at is its lifecycle. Timber begins as a tree, grown in either a native forest or a plantation. When the tree reaches a certain maturity, it’s harvested and the wood is then cut into usable planks or beams. It may be further processed into profiles such as cladding and decking or joined to make bigger sections. You then use the timber for whatever you need before disposing of it carefully once you’ve done, which can mean recycling it or sending it for composting where it will naturally break down and turn into useful soil. 

It’s a very circular system, and it does indeed mean that timber is renewable. 

What Makes Timber Renewable?

Timber is renewable because there’s no limit on the amount we can source. As long as there are trees, there is timber! Other materials, such as metal, have a limit on the amount we can use. Our planet has a finite amount of metal, like steel or aluminium, and once we’ve used it all it is impossible to create any more, which is why metal recycling is so important. 

But we can keep planting trees. The planet does not have a limit on how many roots it can grow or leaves it can produce. As long as we plant them or let them naturally seed, we will always be able to create more trees. 

Responsible Forestry Is Key

Of course, it is possible to strip forests and landscapes of their trees. If we fell hundreds of thousands of trees every day and don’t plant more, there would come a time when we run out (it would take a while, though!). This is why responsible forestry is key.

Responsible forestry, maintained by organisations like the FSC, ensures that we don’t strip forests. Instead, whenever a tree is chopped down, a new one is planted and allowed to grow naturally. If you’re looking for truly renewable timber, this is the only way it should be sourced. 

Sustainable Timber Is the Future

Sustainable timber from managed forests is creating a brighter, more eco-friendly future for the entire construction industry. Timber is renewable, which is excellent for balancing our needs with the resources of the planet. Trees also absorb carbon dioxide as they grow, storing it safely, and forests promote the conservation of animals and plants, and provide a whole host of environmental benefits. 

Make Sure You’re Choosing Renewable Timber With EcoChoice

If you want truly renewable timber, come to EcoChoice. We have a wide range of sustainable timber species sourced from responsibly managed forests around the world. Take a look at our products and find out more!

Image: Michaelspb /

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