New book says we must cut trees down to solve climate crisis

A new book, ‘Timber! How wood can help save the world from climate breakdown’ is set to cause controversy in the conservative world of construction and in the more traditionally-minded elements of the environmental movement.

The carbon emissions generated by concrete and steel construction are well-known. Why then are we not using more carbon-friendly building materials? In a passionate and compelling argument, author Paul Brannen advocates the use of timber in buildings wherever possible.

His controversial and counterintuitive argument is clear: planting trees is not enough to reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, we also must chop them down and use more wood in our buildings. The felling of trees is of course followed by new sapling planting so that the whole sustainable process can begin again i.e. no deforestation should occur.

This is the first book to take timber from the margins to the mainstream, from the forests to the cities.

It tackles head-on questions about sustainability, safety, the biodiversity of commercial forests and the pressures on land use.

The case for timber as a construction material is persuasively made – the creation of new engineered timbers with the structural strength of steel and concrete enable us for the first time to build wooden skyscrapers – and draws on the latest developments in engineering and material science.

In addition to the familiar forestry models, the book advocates alternatives such as wood farming and agroforestry that bring with them added biodiversity gains for farms.

With the built environment currently responsible for 40 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions, Brannen’s message is unequivocal: we must change how we build. Timber! offers fresh and inventive ideas that over time could see our expanding cities storing more carbon than our expanding forests.

Helen Browning, Chief Executive of the Soil Association, said, “Timber! should be read by all those in planning, housing policy, construction and agriculture, and many more besides. Paul Brannen does a fabulous job of showing how feasible and beneficial it would be if we not only sequestered carbon through growing trees, but then locked it up in our buildings and insulation for many decades to come.

“With innovations like agroforestry on the one hand, and glulam on the other, it’s easily within our grasp to grow and use more wood, with multiple benefits for society, not least to more rapidly solve our housing shortage through modular timber-based buildings.”

Timber! How wood can help save the world from climate breakdown will be published by Agenda Publishing on Thursday 27 June 2024.

More information here


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