HARVESTING Peruvian tropical wood for flooring responsibly is beneficial for the Amazon without compromising on quality.
Peruvian tropical wood is a highly sought after flooring material for its range of deep colours, its naturally occurring imperfections and knots, which add character, and ultimately its immense robustness to denting, scratching, and wear.
Certainly, Peru offers a range of excellent products to the flooring industry including hardwood flooring, engineered flooring, decking, and deck tiles.
The quality of Peruvian products has been highly appreciated across Europe with France, Denmark and Belgium being the main importers of tropical wood from Peru in the European market which totalled more than $20m in 2021. Tropical wood flooring is a high-end, luxury product, falling into the non-resilient segment of the industry, which has traditionally accounted for the highest revenue share of the market. This said, the post Covid-19 recovery in the industry is now being driven significantly by an increased demand for vinyl flooring owing to its resistance to spills, moisture and mould.
Wooden flooring manufactured from a diverse variety of tropical tree species such as Andean cherry, Cumaru and Santos Mahogany will however remain competitive in the market due to two main factors: its ability to position itself as a sustainable product while environmental concerns increasingly restrain the growth of vinyl products, and its USP as a high quality, traditional looking flooring solution for luxury projects.
Aside from its capacity to fulfil the demand for luxury flooring, tropical wood is also enjoying success as an outdoor solution for decking. The rainforest is a harsh wilderness where trees contend with insects, fungi, bacteria, and extreme weather conditions that make them exceptionally resistant materials for outdoor flooring in the United Kingdom.The development and sustainability of the flooring industry in Peru wouldn’t be possible without the work that is done to protect the environment. In fact, The Carnegie Institute for Science has demonstrated that ‘Peru’s forests store more CO2 than the US emits in a year’. Peru, having now become the most accurately carbon mapped country in the world, is estimated to store nearly seven billion metric tonnes of carbon stock in its extensive rainforests.
As anxieties about the speed and effect of global warming are increasingly becoming pertinent to people everywhere, the longevity of such an invaluable and immense carbon store is undoubtedly of imperative importance. As such, the Peruvian government is working with forestry companies to protect it, thereby simultaneously allowing its wood export business to be more sustainable and to remain competitive.
From 2016, the Peruvian government began developing biodiversity offsets in Andean ecosystems to evaluate the potential for net-loss and determine new ways of offsetting and mitigating it. By hiring scientists to oversee the state of the rainforest, forestry companies can objectively assess the environmental impact of human activities, allowing them to manage their operations more sustainably.
However, a lack of demand for this versatile and stylish wood can have unanticipated implications for the rainforest. Local forest owners, whose livelihoods depend on the land, are often forced to clear the forest for agriculture when there is not a sufficiently lucrative market for tropical wood. To prevent this, forestry companies are collaborating with local populations to promote sustainable management of the land. The vested interest that forestry companies have in the preservation of their own livelihoods necessitates that they employ regenerative logging practices to ensure the long-term longevity of their businesses. The selective harvesting of mature trees for logging, instead of the younger seed bearing trees, allows the rainforest to regenerate more plentifully- a fact that is known because before forestry companies begin any operations they will always draw up an inventory of the forest floor and fauna. The aforementioned selective harvesting relieves pressure on overburdened trees and expands forest certification to new landscapes, thereby protecting more forest from illegal logging. The greater the market for Peruvian tropical wood, the more forestry companies will be able to exercise responsible control over forests, preventing the proliferation of illegal environmentally harmful logging.Harvesting Peruvian tropical wood responsibly is beneficial for the Amazon without compromising on quality. Indeed, protecting the Amazon rainforest is not just a salient issue for Peruvians, indigenous communities, and the two thirds of the planet’s biodiversity who make the forest their home.
It’s also essential to the entire global population. By choosing Peruvian tropical wood, professionals in the flooring business in the United Kingdom can support environmentally conscious logging whilst still enjoying the fantastic qualities of tropical wood, which is easy to install, moisture-resistant, and unquestionably stylish. This alignment of quality with environmentally sustainable practices will augment the success of tropical wood in the flooring business, proving to be essential to the Amazon for years to come.
Julian Valladares is with Promperu London