Forests are threatened around the world. But deforestation is advancing especially rapidly in tropical countries, where forests fulfil important functions for biodiversity, the climate, and global water cycles. In most cases the conversion of forest areas is driven by the global hunger for resources in combination with a lack of alternative income opportunities for local communities. This trend has led to devastating consequences – for the environment, the global climate, but also the livelihoods of local people. The United Nations warn that a third of the world’s soils are already severely degraded due to unsustainable land use.
We plant trees on degraded lands. However, we don’t do this alone – but together with different actors along the value chain. In practice this means: Small scale farmers in developing countries unlock new sources of income while buyers – such as timber traders or chocolate manufacturers – can draw on sustainable products. By producing wood from fast-growing native trees, we mitigate the pressures from illegal logging. Natural forests are preserved as habitat for endangered animals and basis for ecosystem services.
Expertise along the Value Chain of Tropical Timber
Fairventures works along the entire value chain. We educate consumers and trade, support the processing trade in product innovations and advise about the topics of reforestation, soil improvement and land rights.
The first element of the value chain is the input. The selection of the seeds, the treatment of the seedlings in the tree nurseries, the preparation of the planting hole and the soil for the plantings in the field are connected with learning process which will be provided for the next generations. Beside that appropriate fields are needed which are approved degraded and the ownership of the property is clear, so that land tenures are secured in long terms.
Mixed forests are a very sustainable way of land use which brings a lot of advantages. Contrary to monocultures mixed forests provide a habitat for animals and plants. A monoculture sucks out the soil because of the constant use of some few specific nutrients, while a mixed forest has a balanced demand of different nutrients. The used minerals are stored in the leaves which fall down continuously and spread over the forests soil and so a natural circulation is given.
At first priority the forest provides timber as a primary product. Different growing periods of tree species provide several kinds of timber to different times as yield. Also non-timber forest products can be planted in between the trees for having an annual income, such as manioc, rice, peanuts, bananas etc.
The primary products are going different ways to the processing. Logs are transported to saw mills and veneer productions. The leavings of the timber harvesting and out of the saw mills are brought to power plants which use the energy of wood to produce heat and electricity. The heat is used by the saw mills for timber drying and the overproduction of electricity is lead to the nearest by village. The use of timber leavings or even logs for the production of paper products in a pulp mill is not supported by Fairventures.
Non-timber forest products are going directly to the food production and are available on the international and the local market.
International and regional consumers have some nice advantages of using wood. A wooden house has a very good thermic isolation and high costs for heating and cooling are saved. The living quality in a house with the presence of wood surfaces is scientifically proved better. Panels out of fast growing light woods are usable in many different ways and provide the home worker many opportunities with an easy handling. Exotic wooden furniture out of sustainable grown tree species prettifies the home of the customer while having no bad conscience about environmental impacts.
The sustainable aspect of wood not only helps the customer himself but the whole world. The impounding of CO2 in well produced massive wood products is stored there for decades (sometimes even centuries). The use of wood out of sustainable mixed forests provides an alternative to the consumption of woods out of the primary forest and so minimizes the destruction of the left over rainforest. A product out of massive wood can be recycled very easily. The old wood can be used to produce some further products like chip boards or paper, or can be fired for energy production in an ecological way.