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Building & Renovating

Where to Source Legal Wood in the Philippines?

When building ethically and responsibly, research is key

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Photography: Jilson Tiu (Main Photos)

It’s been six years since former President Aquino launched a moratorium on cutting and harvesting of timber in natural residual forests. The executive order had the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) inspecting shops and factories all over Central Luzon, affecting wood sources from Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija. These days, sourcing wood responsibly without treading on the law, typically means resorting to supplies from Malaysia or Papua New Guinea.


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In photo: A project in Bonifacio Global City featuring Solidwood products.

Finding a balance between preserving the Philippines’ remaining forests (which, according to DENR, remains at 23%; and according to Conservation International is at just 7%), and having a thriving and sustainable wood industry has become a sensitive subject for both parties on either end of the supply chain.

In photo: Branch candleholders and coasters by Sustainably Made by Marsse Tropical Timber.

With a little research, it is still possible to uncover wood that comes from local tree farms. Pangasinan’s Marsse Tropical Timber Plantation, for example, provides hardwood trees as well as Honduras Mahogany to local timber markets. Their 60-hectare farm in Umingan started with just 4,000 trees. Today, the number has grown to 125,000. Suppliers like Marsse that have a “no wasted wood” policy make sure that every bit is used, whether as lumber for export, as small home accessories, or even extra material used to make charcoal.

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With climate change becoming an exceedingly relevant topic, it has become important for many builders to go green. As a result of the 2011 executive order, imported equivalents of our own trees from Narra to Tanguile, Yakal to Guijo, Ipil to Lauan have become available from imported sources. That said, the issue of one’s carbon footprint also comes into question when considering the environmental impact of going imported.

Despite the sparse resources available locally, the Philippine Wood Producers Association intends to look after the wood industry and protect both the government and business sectors. To date, the country’s $5.03-billion wood industry could be threatened by more prohibitions and log bans.

With the help of the PWPA, more commercial tree plantations can still be established within the Philippines to help boost business, construction, building as well as ecological balance. As long as sustainable tree plantations are available, sourcing wood legally, ethically and responsibly is accessible to everyone from big builders to homeowners.

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For more information, follow Filtra Timber on Facebook or visit the websites of Solidwood and Sustainably Made.

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