"Often called the lungs of the earth, forests help clean our air and regulate the climate. Forests filter our water, provide raw materials, recreation and inspiration. However, poor logging practices and planning threaten the future of our forests and wild lands.
The most widespread logging method practiced in this industrial forestry is clear-cut logging, which strips huge swaths of the forest bare and leaves behind an insufficient number of trees for the forest to regenerate itself. Clearcuts as large as 10,000 hectares - the size of the city of Vancouver - can be found in Canada's boreal forest."
- David Suzuki Foundation
With more and more pressure being put onto our forests to keep pace with a growing and developing planet, methods used to produce lumber & timber are rightly coming under increased scrutiny.
The Forest Stewardship Council has been set up to monitor and certify commercial forests in Canada and around the world according to a pre-defined set of principles, standards and other criteria developed by foresters, conservationists and scientists. If the wood has their stamp on it, it tells the consumer that it has been harvested in a sustainable and responsible way, helping protect our forests for future generations. We are happy to be able to offer certified pine timber to our clients.
Timber without these certifications can also be sustainably harvested - even though it hasn't been formally recognized by these organizations. Most of the timber we use falls into this category. To know if your timber is responsibly harvested, you need to be able to track it back to the where it came from, and how it was cut. We buy our softwood and hardwood from small local sawmills, which in turn, source their logs from local landowners, developers and municipalities. The majority of it comes from private woodlots through selective harvesting. The rest comes from the creation of new roads and building lots in the area.
One of our favourite techniques is to source timber directly from our clients' land, assuming they have enough trees over a large enough surface area. Tree surgeons are brought in to fell the trees with a minimum of damage to the surrounding vegetation. We try to use the diseased and lower value trees as well as some good quality ones. The largest and best quality trees are left standing to produce genetically superior re-growth.
Using the whole tree
Along with the timber that comes from a log, we are able to source a range of other by-products. The boards taken from the edges of the log can produce flooring, ceiling boards and siding. All of our sawdust and shavings are given to horse enthusiasts who use it for bedding. Any off-cuts we produce when cutting timbers are stacked and dried and used to heat the workshop. Our traditional technique of using naturally curved pieces also enables us to use more of the tree - and logs of supposedly lesser quality - that are routinely relegated to the firewood pile at most mills.
Built to last
And lastly, our timber frames are built to stand for centuries, not decades. They are beautiful and strong, and will inspire their occupants to maintain and preserve them for generations to come as they have been in Europe, Asia and here in North America. This in itself reduces the demand for building materials taken from our forests.