Wood is not only good for the local economy, but it is also a major driver of wellbeing and health. The South African forestry and forest product sector employs 158 000 people, with 690 000 people dependent on it for their livelihoods. The sector currently generates a gross value of R42-billion, of which R29-billion is exported in the form of beneficiated products.
The uptake of timber-based products in the built environment can further improve the prospects of the forestry industry’s lumber producers. It will be as important for the sawmilling industry, as nanocrystalline cellulose, bioplastics and biochemicals are proving to be in countering the decline of traditional paper products.
Moreover, wood is also good for the brain. According to a recent Workplaces: Wellness+Wood=Productivity Report, weaving wood into workplace design can be a major driver of wellbeing, job satisfaction and productivity.
Biologist and author Edward Wilson first popularised the ‘biophilia’ hypothesis that “humans have an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life”.
When we consciously acknowledge that sustainably-produced wood provides work for thousands of people from tree nurseries to the housing sector, we truly can see the good in wood.