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Overview of the Woodmiles Forum


Prospectus of the Woodmiles Forum

Since ancient times, wood, a locally available material, has supported the daily life people. Recently, it has begun to attract people's attention again as an ecologically sound material, which is reproducible and consumes less energy during production, and as a critical element in the recycling of local materials.

However, due to the desire to secure industrial material, that are conveniently cheap and homogeneous, our country has consumed a large amount of wood imported from the remote corners of the world. This implies that contrary to its reputation as an ecologically sound material, the transportation of imported wood requires a huge amount of fossil fuels. Further, contrary to its basic characteristic of being a renewable material, we encounter problems of illegal logging at locations beyond our control.

We believe that information related to the distances between the places of wood harvest and those of wood consumption (woodmiles) can assist consumers in making informed choices based on the characteristics of wood, i.e., it is people-friendly and earth-friendly. Further. such information also reveals the contradictions within our society, which consumes huge amounts of materials and energy.

Wood imported from distant regions is indicative of the enormous amount of energy consumed during its transportation. The amount of energy required to transport wood for a house from a remote corner of the globe is equal to that necessary to produce all the components of the house. How much transportation energy can be reduced by using locally harvested wood? In order to answer this question, we will develop an index which comprises the amounts and transportation distances of wood (i.e,woodmileage).

There are various methods for solving environmental problems, e.g., reuse and recycle. At various life stages of houses, such as building, living, and destruction, several efforts are made to solve environmental problems. Above al, it is essential to adopt an all-inclusive perspective toward life-cycle energy. What if a long-lasting house is built using only imported wood or if an energy-saving house is built with building materials that are produced using energy intensive methods?

Woodmiles and woodmileage, which are indexes related to the transport energy of wood, are merely starting points. Our goal is to estimate the life-cycle energy of houses and to create a recycling-based society by using locally harvested wood. One of the most important concerns for our country-a country with a high forest-to-land ratio and one that holds a large share in the world's timber trade-is to reduce the environmental impact of wood transportation. Focusing on the concept of woodmiles, the Woodmiles Forum-a centre for the accumulation and dissemination of information, investigation, and research-intends to contribute to the realization of a recycling-based society.

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