The “why” of Living Legacies….

The land we now call New Zealand was not called anything a handful of centuries ago because no people had ever been here. It was the last land mass to be settled by humans. When people first came herein about 800-1000 years ago, some 80% of the land was covered in unique forests found nowhere else in the world. Now this area of forest has been reduced to a little over 20%.

In the life time of a single rimu tree the forests of this country have been through a human-induced holocaust.

Of the forests that remain the vast majority are located at high altitude, because these lands were not useful for farming and so became national parks. There is only a relatively small proportion of forests left in the lowlands (about 15% of the land area) where species like rimu thrive. Of this, about half is unlogged forest.

On a grander scale, our Earth is suffering a massive wave of extinctions. The last time the Earth experienced this rate of extinctions was 65 million years ago (when the dinosaurs died out). The current global extinction holocaust is being caused by us (humans), and the biggest threat to species diversity is the loss of habitat.

The demand for native timbers is helping to drive this habitat loss. If there was no demand for the products that come from the ancient natural forests they would be under far less pressure. We need to be restoring native forests, not logging the few that remain.

One way of lowering the demand on native timbers is to not buy them, and instead buy only timbers that come from planted forests with a certified sustainable label. The most reliable label is the international Forest Stewardship Council label. (See our Linking Legacies page for their website.) It is a certification system that ensures that the timber from it is not contributing to the destruction of habitats or the unfair exploitation of local communities.

“Only after the last tree has been cut down
Only after the last river has been poisoned
Only after the last fish has been caught
Only then will you know that money cannot be eaten”

Cree prophecy

Living Legacies does not support or condone the use of New Zealand native timbers, nor unsustainably-grown, exotic hardwood timbers, for any purpose. However, the most wasteful and destructive use of hardwoods must surely be in the manufacture of coffins which will only be used for a few days and then destroyed.

We supply only coffins made of sustainably grown, untreated pine, poplar and willow. For more about our coffins, please visit the coffins page.