An insight into modern forest design – and why sustainability plays a vital role

By now, we all know how essential plant life is for our survival. From absorbing CO? from the atmosphere to acting as vital flood barriers for our land, the greenery around us is much more than just a beautiful landscape! But as the way we live changes, so does our forested land. To understand more about the future of our planet, we need to also understand modern forest design and why focusing on sustainability in our wild world is so essential.

Native Forests and Forest Plantations

Native forest land is that which has come about naturally. These expanses of greenery are naturally occurring and will have a wide variety of indigenous tree species growing within them. They are not always untouched, though, and will often grow from a combination of natural seeding and human interaction.

Then there are forest plantations. These are completely man-made areas of forest land, designed and planted by hand or machines. Some forest plantations are created to meet our demands for timber or paper, whilst others are used to combat the harmful effects of deforestation. 

What is Sustainable Forest Design?

Modern forest design often focuses on balancing output with sustainability. This essentially means creating forests which are built to thrive for the long term, supporting the wildlife within them and helping tackle climate change while also supplying consistent volumes of timber or pulp. 

When is Forest Design Unsustainable?

Still, many plantation forests are unsustainable for one reason: they contain only one species of tree. Unsustainable palm oil plantations are a prime example of this, where vast amounts of diversely populated land are deforested to make room for just palm trees. For ecosystems this is devastating, with very few species able to sustain themselves on land containing a single species of tree.

The Cornerstones of Sustainable Forest Design

Modern, sustainable forest design focuses on a number of key areas. Tree diversity, for example, ensures the woodland is full of a variety of species which are beneficial to local ecosystems. It is also vital that all species are given enough space to grow and that there is not just one dominant species which suffocates others. 

Achieving climate change goals is also a must. One way that this is done is through sustainable forest management, in which only a certain number of trees are cut down for timber production, while the forest is given time to replenish before more are taken. Deforestation is reduced, CO? is absorbed and the many benefits which native forests bring to the planet such as biodiversity, protection and income to local communities are secured for generations to come.

Modern Forests in Cities

In cities, forest design looks a little different. With space at a premium, city planners are turning to the Miyawaki method of afforestation to maximise the climate and biodiversity benefits of their green spaces. This method is based on the premise that if you plant a large number of trees of different native species in a small space, they will grow more quickly because of competition, and straight up towards the sunlight. This creates dense, biodiverse spaces of greenery, absorbing 30 times more CO? than native forest land.

Learn More With EcoChoice

At EcoChoice, we are champions of sustainable forestry and only offer timber from sustainably managed woodland. To learn more about the forests of our future and why it is so important that they are planet-focused, keep checking our blog! Or to support sustainable forests, take a peek at our wide selection of eco-friendly timber cladding, decking, and more.

Image: Sanga Park /

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