The natural beauty of wood is unmatched which adds to the character and warmth of any space. There is now a growing realisation among consumers about wood being a trusted and ecofriendly resource.

This realisation has prompted the annual celebration of World Wood Day every year on March 21. The day is celebrated to remind people of the true value of wood and raise awareness about its role for our sustainable future.

This year the celebrations take place in Turkey — another country with a long -standing wood culture. In fact, the theme for this year’s celebration is “Wood & Humanity” — to rediscover the contribution and beauty of wood and to rethink its significance in society. India has always had a wood culture.

It still is an integral part of our lives and wooden furniture, doors and windows are commonplace in Indian homes and commercial spaces. However, this love affair with wood has resulted in our forests being depleted drastically. As much as India needs to conserve its forests, it also needs to keep alive the traditional wood culture and to satisfy the demands of a growing economy. Import of wood has answered this situation to a certain extent, yet wood from countries with unsustainable forest practices result in an irrevocable adverse impact on environment. The solution lies in procuring certified, sustainable wood products.

Countries like Canada have realised the implications and let their forests breathe free, with strict forest management regulations making it a world leader in certified, sustainable forests. Independent certification programmes such as Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) ensure that forests are alive for generations to come. The physical and working properties of sustainable wood allow unparalleled options for designing and finishing. But the value of using sustainable wood just doesn’t stop at being aesthetic. With new technologies and design flexibilities, wood has grown from being just a traditional building product. High quality sustainable wood is also versatile and can be used for a variety of applications both interior and for the outdoor. Furniture, wall and ceiling panelling, doors, windows and other millwork, exterior trim, siding, roofing, decking, fencing and garden accessories are just a few of the examples of the applications that wood excels at.

Wood has also enabled architects to design dramatic vaulted ceilings, long span bridges, and buildings that rise six-storeys and higher. It would not be an exaggeration to state that sustainable wood is our partner for a lifetime and more. There are several reasons why wood still remains a choice du jour n Wood is a truly renewable resource that is grown by the sun and that can last for generations n Wood enhances our surroundings by bringing warmth, spirituality, and connection to mother nature into our living spaces n Improves acoustic performance of a space and betters indoor air quality n It is versatile enabling us to maintain traditional looks, or create modern sleek designs n Wood mitigates the effects of climate change by taking carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in its cells throughout its life n Life cycle analysis and scientific studies have shown that using renewable resources such as sustainable wood helps the environment long term when compared to other materials, especially when compared to wood that is not sourced from sustainably managed forests It is time we stand up and ask ourselves a question, are we doing our bit to save our natural resources? Are we using natural building materials from the right sources? — The writer is Technical Advisor,Canadian Wood.