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The Impact of Responsible Meranti Wood Harvesting on Sustainability

Timber Knowledge Industry Practices
18 July 2023 min read

The Impact of Responsible Meranti Wood Harvesting on Sustainability

Meranti wood is one of the most popular hardwoods in the world, known for its durability, strength, and beautiful appearance. It’s widely used in the construction and furniture industry and can be found in homes and buildings around the globe. 

However, with the growing demand for wood, there has been an alarming increase in unsustainable harvesting practices. Fortunately, there is hope for sustainable Meranti wood harvesting through responsible forestry practices. 

In this article, we will explore the impact of responsible Meranti harvesting on sustainability and how Woodshop Direct is taking steps to promote this practice.


Defining Meranti Wood

Meranti wood comes from trees of the Shorea family, which are found in Southeast Asia. These trees can grow up to 70 meters tall, making them some of the tallest hardwood trees in the world. The wood is known for its reddish-brown colour, which deepens with age, and its good resistance to decay and insects. Meranti is commonly used for flooring, decking, furniture, and construction.


The Negative Impact of Unsustainable Harvesting Practices

With the growing demand for Meranti wood, there has been an increase in unsustainable harvesting practices. Unsustainable harvesting practices involve clear-cutting trees, destroying entire ecosystems, disrupting the carbon cycle, and contributing to climate change.

Meranti trees take up to 80 years to reach maturity, and replenishing a harvested tree can take several decades. Without proper planning, unsustainable harvesting practices can lead to the extinction of tree species and the destruction of entire ecosystems.


The Importance of Responsible Meranti Wood Harvesting

Responsible wood harvesting involves using sustainable forestry practices that ensure the long-term health and productivity of the forest ecosystem. This includes harvesting only mature trees, leaving smaller trees and seedlings to grow to maintain forest biodiversity.

Responsible harvesting also involves reforestation, which ensures that harvested areas are replanted with the appropriate tree species to maintain the integrity and productivity of the forest ecosystem. Reforestation also helps to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality.

Businesses involved in the wood industry must promote responsible harvesting practices to ensure the industry's sustainability. Responsible harvesting practices also promote workers' fair treatment and local communities' involvement.

In the world of woodworking and construction, the popularity of certain types of wood is closely intertwined with sustainability. Oak, ash, pine, and cedar, to name a few, are highly sought after due to their durability, aesthetic appeal, and a wide array of applications, from furniture to flooring to outdoor constructions. Yet, the rising demand for these woods and others like maple, walnut, or mahogany significantly strain global forest resources.


Meranti vs Other Popular Woods

In the grand scheme of wood hierarchy, Meranti lies somewhere in the mid-range in popularity, not as renowned as premium woods like teak, oak, or mahogany, but certainly above lesser-known or cheaper varieties. Its popularity stems mainly from its broad palette of applications, from furniture and cabinetry to musical instruments and boat-building. While it may not carry the elite status of some of its counterparts, Meranti has effectively carved out its niche, firmly establishing itself as a reliable and accessible choice for woodworkers and manufacturers worldwide.


Here is a list of twenty popular woods, in no particular order:


  1. Oak: Known for its strength and durability, used extensively in furniture and flooring.

  2. Ash: Valued for its flexibility, used in tool handles and sports equipment.

  3. Pine: Softwood is used in construction, furniture, and craft projects.

  4. Cedar: Renowned for its aromatic properties, used in outdoor furniture and decking.

  5. Maple: Hardwood used in furniture, flooring, and musical instruments.

  6. Cherry: Known for its beautiful colour and grain, used in fine furniture.

  7. Walnut: Durable and attractive wood used in high-end furniture and interior work.

  8. Mahogany: Valued for its workability and finish, used in furniture and boat building.

  9. Birch: Affordable and versatile, used in furniture and plywood.

  10. Teak: Known for its resistance to decay, used in outdoor furniture and boat decks.

  11. Rosewood: Used in musical instruments and fine furniture.

  12. Spruce: Softwood used in construction and musical instruments.

  13. Hickory: Known for its hardness and strength, used in tool handles and furniture.

  14. Poplar: Lightweight and relatively soft, used in furniture and crafts.

  15. Beech: Hardwood used in furniture, flooring, and turned objects.

  16. Redwood: Valued for its resistance to decay, used in outdoor construction.

  17. Fir: Softwood used in construction and plywood.

  18. Meranti: Southeast Asian hardwood used in construction, furniture, and boat building.

  19. Bamboo: Technically a grass but often used like wood, known for its sustainability and strength.

  20. Ebony: Extremely hard and dense wood, used in small decorative items and musical instruments.

The data comes from various reputable sources, including books, research papers, and reliable websites on forestry, woodworking, and construction. This list is not exhaustive and does not include many local and specialised woods that might be very popular in specific regions or industries.

Consequently, the importance of sustainable forest management cannot be overstated. It ensures that extracting these popular woods doesn't lead to deforestation or loss of biodiversity but instead contributes to the health and resilience of forest ecosystems. 

Moreover, the shift towards more sustainable practices has also promoted the popularity of alternatives like bamboo, technically a grass, which grows rapidly and can be harvested without killing the plant. 

This serves as a reminder that our choices as consumers substantially impact sustainability, influencing the demand for different types of wood and, thus, the management of forest resources worldwide.


Woodshop Direct's Commitment to Sustainability

As a company that deals with wood products, Woodshop Direct is committed to promoting responsible harvesting practices to ensure that the wood we use is sourced sustainably. 

In short, we work with suppliers who use sustainable forestry practices and have the proper certifications, such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. The FSC certification ensures that the wood comes from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social, and economic benefits.


High-quality Wood From Woodshop Direct

Meranti is a beautiful and durable material widely used in construction and furniture. Responsible Meranti wood harvesting ensures the industry's sustainability and our planet's protection.

At Woodshop Direct, we are committed to promoting responsible harvesting practices to minimise the impact of our industry on the environment. As consumers, we can also make a difference by choosing products made from sustainable and eco-friendly sources. Together, we can make a positive impact on sustainability and the environment.