CERES Fair Wood


How can you decide whether timber has been responsibly sourced? 

Deciding whether a timber product has been sourced in a sustainable way can be difficult. Ask your timber supplier about the source of the timber and ensure you are comfortable with the answer. Where the wood is from is often more important than the timber species itself. If you know a piece is recycled, or sourced from farm forestry, or salvaged, then you can be more certain it is sustainable than if you do not have that information.

Helpful hints to help you choose the right timber for your application!

Ask your timber supplier where the timber is from. It is very important to know the source of the timber and to only buy from a trusted supplier.

Of all the timber certifications in Australia, the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification is the most environmentally rigorous.

If in doubt, choose FSC timber grown in Australia or New Zealand. There have been allegations of the substitution of illegally logged timber with the FSC branding from other parts of the world.

How does Fair Wood select timber?  

We have developed strict timber selection criteria, to establish if the timber meets the environmental and ethical standards that Fair Wood’s customers expect.

Transparency and clarity around the timber we buy and sell is the foundation of our business. 

We are guided by two principles:

We provide a market for timber that promotes well managed land, forests and trees. 

We provide a market for timber that would otherwise go to waste.

Fair Wood’s timber selection criteria

Farm forestry, agroforestry and trees from other mixed land use

A primary aim of Fair Wood is to provide a market for trees purposefully planted on farms for timber production. Through this we can foster reafforestation of previously cleared farm land. We therefore enthusiastically accept timber from these sources. In doing so, we are careful not to accept timber harvested from farm clearing operations.

Salvaged Timber 

Salvaged timber is from trees that have fallen down or are otherwise going to be cut down for reasons that are not environmentally irresponsible.

We accept salvaged timber that is milled from:

  • A tree that has by accident fallen across a road, yard, fence and/or other crucial assets and therefore must be removed.
  • A tree that has fallen distant from any watercourse or wildlife corridor and is not part of a functioning forest ecosystem.
  • A tree that is hazardous and must be removed.
  • A tree that is seriously diseased or dying, unless it would otherwise provide ecosystem services once dead.
  • Wood that would otherwise be disposed of or used for low value product. This is assessed cautiously on a case by case basis and we are very careful to verify that our acceptance of timber does not provide incentive for unsustainable practices.
  • A tree removed for the construction of roads, housing and other development.
  • We will not accept timber where doing so helps support particularly unsustainable development or industry, even if the wood will then otherwise go to waste. We will not, for example, accept timber milled from trees cleared to make way for a new coal mine.

Australian Native Forests 

While we believe that it is possible to manage Australian native forest resources sustainably and to produce timber from them at the same time, there is significant evidence that this is not occurring currently in many areas.  As the context and provenance of logs from these forests can be difficult to confirm when provided to sawmillers, we do not generally accept timber from these sources. We may in the future accept timber from specific state managed forests when we can verify both the sustainable management of the forest and the provenance of the logs delivered to the sawmill. 


1. [Lindenmayer, 2013. Victorian Forestry is definitely not ecologically sustainable, The Conversation]

2. [Wahlquist, 2018. Melbourne’s water supply at risk due to ‘collapse’ of forests caused by logging, The Guardian]

3. [Lindenmayer and Sato, 2018. Hidden collapse is driven by fire and logging in a socioecological forest ecosystem, PNAS Journal]

Photo of sugar gum plantation with tall sugar gum trees and lots of foliage

Farm forestry, agroforestry and trees from other mixed land use offer a local Australian sustainable timber supply.

Salvaged timber is from trees that have fallen down or are otherwise going to be cut down for reasons that are not environmentally irresponsible.

Mullum Creek Timber Products Guide + Further Links 

The Mullum Creek Timber Products Guide. This excellent Timber Products List was created as part of the Mullum Creek project, which is an ecologically sustainable housing development in Melbourne.

The International Greenpeace Good Wood Guide is useful for furniture makers looking at imported timbers. It recommends FSC timbers and alternatives for non-sustainable imported timbers. 

For detailed information on the properties of timber, timber applications and all of the known Australian species, Wood Solutions is an excellent resource.

Articles + books

The Laundering Machine. Report by the Environmental Investigation Agency about corruption affecting forests in Peru.

Green Carbon, Black Trade. UNEP Report about illegal logging in tropical countries.

Heartwood by Rowan Reid. A book review by Sarah Coles.

Fair Dinkum Wood. An article in the Sanctuary magazine about Fair Wood.