People buying furniture, building houses or adding decks are often uncertain what timber to use. They rule out timber from rainforests, because they are aware of the disastrous effects of industrial logging on biodiversity, indigenous people, erosion and climate change but are unsure of alternatives. Even in New Zealand there is still a market for Rimu and Kahikatea which is why the SOE (state owned enterprise) Timberlands is still taking every millable tree out of the Charleston forest in the Buller.
NZ imports of tropical timber have dropped in recent years. Malaysia, where Mitsubishi is the major logging company, is still our major source. Already in response to consumer pressure and active protest, retailers and importers have begun phasing-out rainforest timbers from destructive sources. Major retailers agreed in 1991 to end all advertising of tropical timber decking, while NZ Timber Importers Association no longer buys timber from Sarawak, Sabah and Brazil. They have also agreed to support the growing and use of eucalypts and macrocarpa as alternatives. These are grown in New Zealand along with other hardwoods although supplies as yet are small and the government and timber industry need to encourage managed development of this resource.
|Furniture||cypresses and radiata pine
all nominated eucalypts
blackwood, black walnut
|moderately soft timbers
|Veneer||same species as Furniture|
|Turnery||all nominated eucalypt species
|Handles (bending)||all nominated eucalypt species|
|Panelling||all species||user preference decides|
|cypresses and NZ redwood
stringy bark and eastern blue gums
|cypresses, Douglas fir
and cross arms)
|stringy bark eucalypts and eastern
stringy bark eucalypts and eastern
|Garden uses||radiata pine
stringy bark eucalypts and eastern
15-20 year life
After 3 years of planning the first shipment of sustainably produced tropical timber for floors, decks and furniture arrived in New Zealand in December 1996. 'Ecotimber' is the result of a co-operative venture between Greenpeace, the Imported Tropical Timber Group (J Scott and Co, Rosenfield Kidson, JL Lennard Ltd, South Pacific Shingles Ltd) and the NGO, Solomon Island Development Trust. Village people in the Solomons, stewards of their ancestral forests, still own their land. Single trees are felled with minimal damage, milled with portable mills where they fall, and the timber is carried out by hand or floated down the rivers. Good management ensures the forest regenerates properly. The profits are shared by the community. Community support for ecoforestry is growing since the villagers can see there are no destructive roads or soil damage. Communities plan land use including gardens and forest reserves and develop a Management Plan for the areas which will be sustainably logged. The Komuniboli people have established an ecoforestry training centre. 'Ecotimber" is available from Benchmark, Placemakers, Mitre 10, Carters and NZ Independent Timber Merchants. Two types of 'ecotimber' are available with greater quantities and types on the way, they carry the ecotimber logo.
Taun (Isand Mahogany): attractive pink hardwood suitable for flooring and joinery.
Vitex: hard and durable, very suitable for decking and outdoor furniture.
Information for this issue come from 'Good Wood Guide' Wellington Rainforest Action Group, Box II 964 Wellington and FOE; 'Working Together' Greenpeace Private Bag 92507 Auckland
Hundreds of hectares of forests, manuka/kanuka and even old growth beech, rata and kamahi are felled for firewood. Dunedin Environment Centre published this information on alternative firewood and is planning a label 'Forest Friendly Firewood' for firewood bags.
|WOOD TYPE||THERMAL VALUE||BURN DURATION||AVAILABILITY|
|Wattle||very hot||very long||good|
|Tree lucerne||very hot||very long||poor|
|Gorse||very hot||very long||poor|
General ideas on ethical shopping, some of the
decisions required when trying to shop ethically
can be found on the next page.
Just Shoppers' Guide is a guide to
ethical shopping. For further information contact:
The electronic version of Shoppers Guide has been taken directly from the paper version, with the permission of Pat Scott. For further information on the electronic version contact Stuart Sontier