Ecoforestry: Beautiful good wood

Page - December 17, 2008
Ecotimber is harvested from community based ecoforestry operations. Ecoforestry allows local communities to earn money by harvesting timber and other products from the forest in a way that ensures the long-term integrity of the forest's biodiversity.

Ecotimber sawmill demonstration at the Greenpeace Global Forest Rescue Station, Lake Murray, PNG. Volunteers set up the rescue station at the invitation of the Lake Murray landowners to aid them in boundary marking and ecoforestry.

How does ecoforestry work?

Customary landowners work together to manage their forest, using low impact techniques to mill trees or harvest forest products. They ensure that, as a tree falls, it does minimal damage to the remainder of the forest. They carry the timber out of the forest along narrow bush tracks or float them down rivers. Monitoring ensures the forest regenerates and is maintained.

The profits from ecoforestry are four to 10 times more than logging and are shared in the community. The money made from cutting just one tree can pay school fees for one child for a year. Greenpeace helps market the high quality ecotimber from Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea to international markets, including New Zealand and Australia.

Ecoforestry is built on three key foundations:

  • community organisation
  • clear and undisputed land rights
  • a participatory land use plan

Greenpeace actively supports ecoforestry projects in the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. Beautiful ecotimber is available to buy in New Zealand in small quantities.

Ecotimber is milled from hardwood trees, including dillenia (Dillenia spp.), vitex (Vitex cofassus), Pacific rosewood (Pterocarpus indicus) and taun (Pometia pinnata). It can be used for joinery, floorboards, bench tops, decking, panelling and furniture.

Search for ecotimber species in the Good Wood Guide

Is ecotimber certified by the FSC?

Ecotimber is is in transition to FSC certification and is expected to be fully certified in 2009. In the tropics, it is a long and difficult process to meet high FSC international standards for a 'well-managed forest', a process which takes at least three to five years.