The procurement of wood for products requires the destruction of natural features to make use of their resources. If this is performed improperly, it can increase hazards for personnel and remove trees and vegetation in an unsustainable manner, and the resulting deforestation can contribute to habitat loss and climate change. Several standards give guidelines regulating the process of forest clearing.
OSHA 1910.266 addresses the safety practices, means, methods and standard operations for all types of logging. Concerns with these requirements mainly lie with the correct types of machinery for different procedures and related safety precautions for the personnel to use and interact with them. What this doesn’t address are issues relating to sustainability of the forest or woodland from where the wood is being derived and the classification of that wood.
The first step in forest clearing is selecting which trees to harvest. Among the immense amount of trees that exist throughout the world, there is widespread variation in the mechanical properties of wood. ASTM D5536-17 – Standard Practice for Sampling Forest Trees for Determination of Clear Wood Properties provides the standard techniques for collecting a sample that is representative of an area of forest trees. The methods that it addresses for understanding these mechanical properties are a primary and secondary method for Cruciform Sampling, Random Sampling, and Double Sampling.
Before and during the forest clearing process, there must be an emphasis based on sustainability. While the majority of global deforestation derives from the clearing of forests for agriculture, a significant amount can be attributed to logging operations. Having less planted trees on the Earth can lead to a whole slew of environmental problems, since it locally damages ecosystems and limits the amount of vegetation that can absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide. Looking at this from a financial standpoint, it is detrimental to unsustainably remove trees from a forest, since there will be less of that resource readily available. ASTM D7480-21 – Standard Guide for Evaluating the Attributes of a Forest Management Plan, while not being an official certification guide, gives useful criteria at the local, national, and international level for achieving the goals of a forest management plan.
Once this wood has been harvested from trees, it is ideal to put it to good use. Successfully tracing the source of the wood so that its mechanical properties can be utilized in a manufactured product and that distributors and retailers can convey any associated qualities is essential. ASTM D7612-21- Standard Practice for Categorizing Wood and Wood-Based Products According to Their Fiber Sources gives the necessary evaluation requirements for categorization so that once a wood-based product reaches the consumer, its composition will be clearly defined.
Other ASTM Wood Standards are available on the ANSI Webstore.