Wood has always been one of the essential materials used in construction, and with the ongoing trend of timber-framed tall buildings, it has become more important than ever to be conscious of the impacts on the environment from the types of wood we source.
Currently, there exist more than 50,000 tropical timber species in the world, yet only a small percentage of those are utilized in construction projects. This has led to the exploitation of the more well-known timber species, altering the diversity of the world’s tropical forests and putting those species in danger of disappearing completely. But what if we began building with the full range of species available to us?
In efforts to increase awareness for the multitude of timber varieties available on the market, The Forest Stewardship Council of Denmark (FSC Denmark) have developed an online database of lesser known timber species (LKTS).
The website allows users to search through more than 200 species and 50 case studies of current applications of LKTS (and will be constantly updated as new cases and data become available), providing inspiration and guidance for architects and designers looking to use wood in their projects. The database gives technical descriptions of the capabilities of each species, as well as their practical applications and examples of existing projects in which they have been used. By making this information publicly available, FSC Denmark hopes that designers will begin to employ a more diverse selection of wood types as an alternative to the more well-known ones.
“It is our goal to create a more diverse timber market and break with the conventional thinking that dominates the industry today. We are not telling people to stop using well-known timber species like teak or cumaru - as long as they come from sustainable sources. However, if we can substitute some of it with lesser known species, it will make sustainable forestry much more profitable for the forest owners,” says Kristian Jørgensen, project coordinator at FSC Denmark.
FSC Denmark also welcomes users to submit their own LKTS case studies to help grow the database and support the goal of developing a “more diverse timber market to support sustainable forestry, improved pricing and regional development through the commercialization of a greater variety of wood species.”
You can check out the database for yourself, here.
If you want to upload your own FSC certified LKTS projects or if you have any questions, please contact Kristian Jørgensen from FSC Denmark at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about FSC, please visit the organization’s international website.