China is moving towards sustainable forest certification

Canada-China combatting illegal logging round table. Image: BC Gov News

The Chinese government revealed plans for sustainable forest certification of wood products, according to an article by the Canadian newspaper Merritt Herald. Certification is to be achieved for both wood products made of domestic Chinese timber and of wood imported from other countries. As a result, the plans also involve stricter scrutiny of imported timber – China has, for example, stopped importing wood from Myanmar, says the Merritt Herald.

China discussed those and other plans during a forum on illegal logging and forest trade co-sponsored by China and Canada. As a part of the meeting, representatives of the Canadian Forest Service and British Columbia Forests Minister Steve Thomson shared their experience with B.C.’s multiple international certification programs for forest products and its independent Forest Practices Board.

Representatives from non-governmental organizations in attendance gave presentations on their support for China in its efforts to promote legal trade and to combat illegal logging and its trade, says Canadian agency Forest Innovation Investment.

Wood construction is key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Representatives of the Canadian forest industry also described the benefits of wood construction on the environment, as the Chinese government moves to impose greenhouse gas and pollution targets on its smog-choked major cities, according to the Merritt Herald. Zhu Guangquian, chiarman of China Timber and Wood Products Distribution Association, described the impact of concrete and steel construction on China’s vast urban development program. At the current pace of development, China uses as much concrete in two years as the United States does in a century, he said.

China has been working on initiatives to increase the use of wood in urban construction for a while. As early as last year, the Chinese Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, has signed a directive that is to increase the use of wood in future construction projects. Plans at the time included to incentivise the use of wood in construction through tax benefits and other financial instruments.