Forests and their sustainable use


Forests and wood have always provided us with water, energy and shelter. Today we use wood to build skyscrapers and replace plastic, to make fabrics and medicines, even satellites. Wood helps us lead a more sustainable life, but we also need to manage our forests sustainably. Only then can we make sure wood remains a renewable resource.

March 21st marks the international day of forests. This year’s theme is sustainable production and consumption. Here are five books on the topic; for more reading tips, see our topic list.

Karppinen, S., Penttinen, K. & Myyrä, A. (2013). Forest: the green gold of Finland. Kirjakaari.

A visual introduction to the Finnish forest and wood industry: nature, recretation, forestry, wood industry and wood related innovations.

An e-version of this book is freely available online.

Barton, J., Bragg, R., Wood, C., Pretty, J. & Ambrose-Oji, B. (2016). Green exercise: linking nature, health and well-being. Routledge.

This is a great book on the benefits of nature on human health and wellbeing. The articles introduce varied points of view and cover all stages of human life course, discussing green exercise, healthy parks, and green care. Green exercise is also an effective intervention for vulnerable groups and promoting healthy ageing, with activities including wilderness therapy, therapeutic horticulture and the use of forests and water.


Kääriäinen, P., Tervinen, L. (2017). Lost in the wood(s): the new biomateriality in Finland. Aalto University.

Biomaterials such as cellulose are a more sustainable alternative to oil-based resources. This book provides us with a great summary of biomaterial research and is divided into four parts. The first is an introduction to Finnish forests and wood as raw material, the second introduces us to some of the collaborative teams in biomaterial research. The third part is also focusing on collaboration, this time from the business point of view. Finally, we meet three Aalto university students who describe their personal journeys in biomaterial research.

Tiainen, J. (2007). Wood architecture in Finland. Rakennustieto.

Although more than a decade old, this book is a great visual introduction to modern wood architecture in Finland. Tiainen introduces ten acclaimed buildings from churches to schools and community centres. Also, two examples of housing architecture are included. The book opens with an introduction about Finnish wooden construction heritage, giving the presented examples further historical meaning.

Gillman, J. (2015). How trees die: the past, present, and future of our forests. Westholme Publishing.

This is a book written by a horticulturist but suitable for us all who love trees. Gillman does not talk about forestry, or the effects of climate change. Instead, he focuses on the life and death of trees, such as managed deaths in orchards or the accidental deaths brought on by well-intentioned but deadly care. Plenty of photographs are used to illustrate his stories, and the personal anecdotes make this an enjoyable read.

Thank you for the image: ejaugburg @ pixabay 

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