The positive and negative impact of deforestation

Part 1/2 - Part two will be published next Monday.


Mother Earth, and every living creature that depends on its captivity – from the smallest living organism to the largest living sea creatures rest on a very crucial element which is balance. A sole, intense harmless disturbance that would hinder balance has different outcomes that are two-way. It can be both advantageous and disadvantageous. One of these elements is the so-called DEFORESTATION.

Forest, the lungs of the planet

Forest, the lungs of the planet

What is Deforestation? Basically, deforestation has been a household name especially in a lot of developing countries. It has made a great impact to the development of civilization as we know more of it at this point in time. Unluckily, a lot of the ill effects of deforestation are caused by inappropriate agricultural and farm practices, greed, neglect and ignorance of government.

Why forests are essential to mankind? Aside from its natural beauty, forests are in-charge and accountable in sustaining and maintaining global ecosystem. To tell you the truth, a lot of the quality of life we are experiencing as of the moment, we owe it to the forests. It is also considered as the habitat of nearly more than half of all the organisms and creatures in this planet.

From the staple element, food to herbal medicines and other components of survival, forests supplies the human kind a plethora of gifts that give significant immeasurable amount to our way of life.

Now let us pay attention on the advantages of deforestation. It is basically dependent on the needs of the social community concern; deforestation has helped communities to be built. Forests are the key ingredients in building residential houses, factories, and buildings. Government has the capacity to construct roads to make transportation and trade faster and a lot convenient to people. This turn is the realization of the development of each community.

On the other hand, deforestation can also be regarded as the conversion of forest land to productive land destined for poultry and agricultural components. The outcome is an efficient and plentiful production of material and food, seemingly avoiding periods of needs and lack. On the economical side, deforestation has contributed a lot in supplying communities the chance to make positive changes in their way of living.  But, it is not advantages at all. There is a counterpart disadvantage of reforestation and the negative consequences of it will surely make a big impact in the world.

On the next article, we will tackle the negative consequences of deforestation and how the world reacts to rampant deforestation. What are the impact, isolated or not, of deforestation, not only to the way of living, but to humankind as a whole. You will be able to see in the next article that the disadvantages far outweigh its advantages. The effects are seriously scary.

It is one of Kaltimber missions to promote an eco-friendly and sustainable way of using wood materials to protect our forest.


The Advantages of utilizing Reclaim Wood as Furniture

Based on its studies, the United Nation Environment Program, there are presently twelve species of trees that are on the watch and regarded as an endangered. A lot of these have been famous choices to make cabinets, furniture, musical instruments, and several other items utilized by people. On a yearly basis, with an approximation of forty (40) million hectares of the earth’s forests are swiped for this purpose. As our limited resources immediately comes to a close, consumers and companies alike are searching for methods and techniques to consolidate environmental responsibility in to their way of living.

Ulin log transformed in stool and finished with a butterfly joint.

Ulin log transformed in stool and finished with a butterfly joint.

Energy conservation, paper-less theory, and recycling have been there long before.  Another efficient way to become environment-friendly is by furnishing your home with reclaimed wood furniture.

Instead of being thrashed, old woods from dismantled buildings and homes is refurbished, harvested, rejuvenated and given a renaissance as dresser or coffee table. The use of reclaim wood can supply a positive environmental impact beyond the preservation of virgin trees. A lot of builders also utilize non-toxic paints and glue as well as natural oil finishes.

The main objective is to come up with a high quality, beautiful product while giving the environment a breather and develop as soon as possible. Reclaimed wood yields stylish yet rustic type of furniture. In several cases, it is difficult to regard the piece is not brand new. In some cases as well, evidence such as rustic nail holes or saw marks are retained for a purpose, supplying an antique feel, well-worn appeal. It can be tailored to suit a vast array of homeowners’ tastes and feels and can be blended with traditional, rustic, or contemporary tastes.

There is also a sense of mystery surrounding a piece of reclaimed wood product. Your night shelf could emanate from a turn of the century raw house or a barn. Or maybe it was salvaged from a neighbor’s unused deck. Whatever the case is, it has a story to tell and history of its own.

At the end of the day, the cost efficient factor of this type of furniture is a lot more enticing to buyers. Even though hand-made furniture can be expensive, reclaimed materials are basically cheaper as compared to brand new items. Reclaimed wood is basically treated and pre-cut, lessening expenses significantly.

Any property owned with a taste for nostalgic feels, an eye for a stylish theme, and a goal to protect and preserve our natural resources would be wise to mull over buying reclaimed wood furniture. Whatever your goal is, reclaimed wood is the “in” thing as of the moment. Let’s just say that yesterday’s pieces are the most loved pieces of today and still embraced until tomorrow.

As for us, at Kaltimber, we are not fully dedicated to furniture but to decking and flooring in reclaim wood. All the character and history carried in each and every single piece makes all our projects unique. Our leftover are used to create unique piece of furniture on occasion.

Your beneficial friend the forest: Shinrin-Yoku

The Japanese practice of forest bathing is proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production (cortisol), boost the immune system, improve overall feelings of wellbeing, lowering anxiety and anger, increase of natural killers (specific cells fighting cancer), positivie regulation of heart rate, etc...

Forest bathing—basically just being in the presence of trees—became part of a national public health program in Japan in 1982 when the forestry ministry coined the phrase shinrin-yoku (meaning Forest bathing or Forest showering) and promoted topiary as therapy. Nature appreciation—picnicking en masse under the cherry blossoms, for example—is a national pastime in Japan, so forest bathing quickly took. The environment’s wisdom has long been evident to the culture.

Forest bathing works simply: Just be with trees. You can sit or meander, but the point is to relax rather than accomplish anything.

From 2004 to 2012, Japanese officials spent about $4 million dollars studying the physiological and psychological effects of forest bathing, designating 48 therapy trails based on the results. Qing Li, a professor at Nippon Medical School in Tokyo, measured the activity of human natural killer (NK) cells in the immune system before and after exposure to the woods. These cells provide rapid responses to viral-infected cells and respond to tumor formation, and are associated with immune system health and cancer prevention. In a 2009 study Li’s subjects showed significant increases in NK cell activity in the week after a forest visit, and positive effects lasted a month following each weekend in the woods.

This is due to various essential oils, generally called phytoncide, found in wood, plants, and some fruit and vegetables, which trees emit to protect themselves from germs and insects. Forest air doesn’t just feel fresher and better—inhaling phytoncide seems to actually improve immune system function.

Experiments on forest bathing conducted by the Center for Environment, Health and Field Sciences in Japan’s Chiba University measured its physiological effects on 280 subjects in their early 20s. The team measured the subjects’ salivary cortisol (which increases with stress), blood pressure, pulse rate, and heart rate variability during a day in the city and compared those to the same biometrics taken during a day with a 30-minute forest visit. “Forest environments promote lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity than do city environments,” the study concluded.

In other words, being in nature made subjects, physiologically, less amped. The parasympathetic nerve system controls the body’s rest-and-digest system while the sympathetic nerve system governs fight-or-flight responses. Subjects were more rested and less inclined to stress after a forest bath.

Trees soothe the spirit too. A study on forest bathing’s psychological effects surveyed 498 healthy volunteers, twice in a forest and twice in control environments. The subjects showed significantly reduced hostility and depression scores, coupled with increased liveliness, after exposure to trees. “Accordingly,” the researchers wrote, “forest environments can be viewed as therapeutic landscapes.”

City dwellers can benefit from the effects of trees with just a visit to the park. Brief exposure to greenery in urban environments can relieve stress levels, and experts have recommended “doses of nature” as part of treatment of attention disorders in children. What all of this evidence suggests is we don’t seem to need a lot of exposure to gain from nature—but regular contact appears to improve our immune system function and our wellbeing.

Beneficial effects from a onetime exposure can last for up to 30 days. Time in 2018 to plan some forest trips!

Your beneficial friend the forest.

Your beneficial friend the forest.







Many articles are available online regarding that subject. Le Point from November 2, 2017 offers a wide range of article in relation to forest intelligence and Forest bathing.

Forest to protect cities from earthquake

The deflected waves to protect a building can destroy the neighbor and, among the famous surface seismic waves known by seismologists  as Rayleigh waves, some have wave lengths large enough not to be affected by the already envisaged seismic invisibility systems. Fortunately, these problems seem to be able to be overcome using ... trees!

Experiments carried out in France with a small pine forest not far from the campus of the Université Joseph-Fourier in Grenoble, together with numerical simulations, confirm that the trees can behave as resonators rebroadcasting the waves of Rayleigh in a certain frequency band in response to the arrival of these of an earthquake. In the end, they are sent deep into the ground, even for large wavelengths. Oddly enough, the most effective protection is obtained with trees planted in a dense and random way. It improves again by covering a larger frequency band if the trees are arranged with decreasing heights.

Yet there is a problem: at the moment, the concept only works if the waves arrive from two directions only. But the researchers are confident. They'll blow up that lock.

Earthquake damaged road

Earthquake damaged road

Read it, plant it, enjoy it!

The Mainichi newspaper is one of the dailies most sold in Japan with its 5.5 million of prints sold per day. It is also a group that takes very seriously the issue on the protection of the environment. As a result, it seeks by all means to promote the ecological behavior, such as his newspaper which can be planted in a pot after reading.

 Paper that can give a beautiful flower, it's an idea that may seem to us original, but which is already in vogue in the Japan. With the Mainichi newspaper, one can plant it and have a flower! Simply put crumbs of the paper in Earth and moisten it.

These "magical" papers are made of recycled paper with a mix of seeds of flowers and herbs. These papers are part of the "Green Newspaper" initiative, which was initiated by the Japanese advertising agency, Dentsu. The idea has been so successful that the Japanese have adopted it. This, even though the country of the sun rising is known by its large consumer society.

 The goal of the "Green Newspaper" is not only ecological, but also to develop a new communication strategy with a product that respects the environment and that protects it from the most beautiful ways.


7 Bathroom Remodel Design Tips for a Healthier and More Eco-Conscious Home*

These seven simple tips will help make your bathroom greener

When you’re remodeling any part of your home, most of your concerns tend to revolve around the time, cost and effort required for the project. Making your home more eco-friendly doesn’t always top the list of priorities at this stage, but it really should. The planet (and your wallet) will thank you for it!

Bathrooms, in particular, are immense guzzlers of water and energy. A bathroom renovation is the best time to consider small changes that can add up to huge green results.

1. Low-VOC Materials

As you probably know, lead plumbing should be replaced right away, but that isn’t the only thing to worry about from a health perspective.

Many traditional materials emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that affect indoor air quality and pose a serious health risk for years. While choosing paint, grout, adhesives, caulk and sealers, opt for low-VOC or no-VOC materials as much as possible.

2. Better ventilation

In addition to foul odors, damp bathrooms offer the perfect breeding ground for mold, bacteria and a host of other nasties. Make sure you’ve got adequate ventilation and maintain good airflow to keep your bathrooms dry.

Installing a bathroom fan isn’t always enough to release trapped moisture and heat from the space. Check that the fan expels air out of your home instead of into the spaces between walls and ceilings. To reduce energy use, consider an exhaust unit with a timer switch, motion sensor or humidity sensor.

3. Water Conservation

Bathrooms are responsible for almost half of all water used in a household, with most of it literally going down the drain. Newer low-flow showers and faucets, low-flush toilets and high-efficiency heaters offer excellent water-saving features.

Adopt better bathroom habits (shorter showers, repairing leaks and drips, closing taps while brushing/shaving, etc.), but take a good long look at your faucets, shower heads, toilet flush units and heaters, too.

4. Energy-Efficient Lighting

Whether it’s a small bathroom remodel or a larger space you’re taking on, the right lighting choices can cut down energy use tremendously. There’s a wide range of LED lights and low-wattage lighting systems that use very little electricity and emit less heat, too, so look into your options.

These may cost more initially, but the energy savings can make up for the difference in as little as a year (and they last up to 20 years!). Use natural light to your advantage with skylights and windows.

5. Water-Resistant Surfaces

Wallpaper and carpeting are your worst enemies during a bathroom remodel, since they offer no resistance to water. In a damp space, these materials will become a hot spot for mold and bacteria faster than you’d believe, and they’re often high in VOC emissions, too.

Bathrooms need to withstand heavy use, cleaning and water exposure. Stick to low-VOC finishes and materials that are water-resistant, such as ceramic or recycled-glass tiles. These are stylish and eco-friendly, and available in various designs and colors to suit every interior space.

6. Sustainably Sourced Fittings

Natural materials like bamboo and wood are popular choices for bathroom cabinets and fittings, but make sure they’re from sustainable sources.

Particle board and MDF (medium-density fiberboard) surfaces emit a carcinogenic gas called urea formaldehyde, so seal them with low-VOC or non-VOC materials or avoid using them at all.

7. Natural Products

While this isn’t technically a bathroom remodel tip, we believe it’s important, especially since natural and organic products help improve indoor air quality. Using chemical-laden products in an eco-friendly bathroom makes no sense, does it?

Instead, opt for cleaning products (or body, skin and hair care products) that are fragrance- and chemical-free.

Taking all these considerations into mind before you begin renovating your bathroom is the easiest way to ensure you have a clean, green space. Happy remodeling!



Would you like to add a design touch to your new greener bathroom? In its classy latest article Top Reveal shares 20 elegant design for a new bathroom, for a new you.


As you're upgrading your bathroom, make sure to take into account how easy it will be to clean it in the future. shares a comprehensive article on bathroom cleaning to help you through it. 





*source - Earth911.



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New owner

As per December 1st 2016 Kaltimber has a new husband-and-wife owner team!

After many years of hard work and constant improvement Yoga and Alex are going for new adventures while Guillaume and Siti are taking over!

On January 1st 2017, Kaltimber will resume its activities on decking, flooring, paneling, counter-top and other B2B oriented objects (in-house design or custom design).

  • Our production team; still is the same so you will continue to find this unique quality Kaltimber has to offer.
  • Our sourcing team; still is the same so you will continue to find quality reclaimed hardwood from ethical and legal sources.
  • Our sales team; still is the same so you will continue to find precise and professional information, quick reply and this forever smile.

We are looking forward to meet all of you to discuss and assist you on your projects, no matter how big or small they are.

Designing for longevity: getting better life out of your wood

Naturally eroded end grain of a mahogany log... ain't she beautiful?

Two unavoidable factors that will impact upon wood in an exterior application are sun and rain. Why is it so important to consider these factors from the outset, and what can you do to minimise their impact?

We love the sun for generating solar energy, warming our bodies, growing trees and drying clothes. We love the rain for feeding food crops, watering plants and filling up dams for drinking. Both the sun and the rain are essential life giving forces on our planet. But when it comes to timber, the sun and the rain can be a powerful factor in shortening the potential lifespan of our timber structure.

Wood that is kept dry and away from sunlight in an indoor application will last indefinitely. But what happens when wood is exposed to the sun’s rays and moisture from the rain? In simple terms, the surface of the wood starts to break down and decay, and the wood begins to split, rot, warp, lose its rich colouring and literally fade to grey.

Decay and degradation in timber is caused by a variety of factors: attack from fungi and bacteria, attack from the sun’s UV rays and from moisture, and biological attack including termites and borers. We call these ‘biological hazards’. Timber is usually rated against its ability to withstand these biological hazards, and it is wise to explore timber durability and strength gradings before you start building to choose the best timber for the right application to maximise the life of your structure (see end section for references). One of if not the best timber to use in Indonesia for external applications is Ulin (Kalimantan ironwood -Eusideroxylon zwageri) as it is highly resistant and durable.

Solar degradation or weathering occurs when UV light from the sun causes chemical changes in the wood cells and breaks down the lignum and cellulose in timber making it brittle, whilst also dying out and shrinking the surface of timber in comparison to its inner section, causing the timber to split. The best way to protect against this is by simply ensuring that you use an exterior grade timber with an interlocking grain to reduce splitting, and a dense oily consistency to resist drying out. Another essential consideration is to build out solar attack by designing your structure so that east and west timber walls are shaded from setting sun and that all other timber elements are shaded from above. Adequate eaves can greatly increase the life span of your timber.

Rot occurs when timber is continuously exposed to excess water causing slow decay, with rot, mould and fungus slowly but forcibly degrading the timber. To protect against rot, make sure timber is kept free from direct ground contact. Use an exterior grade timber in exterior applications as per above. And make sure end timber is covered from above. Most water intrusion occurs at the ends of sections of timber or in joints where water can pond. The best builders paint inside their joints prior to assembly as well as designing joints so water can naturally drain from them.

A common building technique in Indonesia is to cut large, flat mortise joints into post and beam construction (see pic below). This is a big fat no-no in the wrong application such as a two story structure as besides weakening the timber, the joints are rarely snug-fitting hence water can gather in the mortises and causes decay.

Two story Ulin post and beam construction showing mortise join which weakens the wood structure - a big fat no-no

Two story Ulin post and beam construction showing mortise join which weakens the wood structure - a big fat no-no

It is much better to attach beams to posts using galvanized screws and bolts, using two per join on a diagonal (much stronger than one and better earthquake resistance - see pics above). Another builders trick, is to cut the corners off the ends of timber sections to reduce the direct end grain surface. This is why you often see posts chamfered around the top, or rafters cut off at an angle towards the end.

Showing beam bolted to post using screws, the correct way to attach beams

Showing beam bolted to post using screws, the correct way to attach beams

For both rot and weathering prevention, you can apply a finish such as a paint, oil or a stain. I won’t go into great detail here as timber finishing is a huge topic that will be covered in an upcoming edition. In brief, the best protection against weathering is really pigment as it effectively blocks the ultra violet rays from the sun. This is why when you remove the paint from a 100 year old timber house, the timber underneath looks new. However, it is not particularly practical for wood lovers as the downside is you can’t see the beautiful properties of the wood. Another option is a permeable finish such as wood oil. The benefits of using wood oil is that unlike a polyurethane finish, it penetrates into the wood cells and expands and contracts as the wood swells and shrinks in response to changes in the weather. The downside is it doesn’t provide lasting protection and you will need to re-apply the oil every year or so. We recommend a high-quality natural permeable oil-based sealer such as Tung oil which can be bought in Bali at Little Tree (

Remember it’s the combination of water and timber that cause most trouble, so design your house so the timber stays nice and dry and preferably out of the sun.

More info on timber durability and strength grading:

Thanks to Dave Hodgkin and Sam Shultz for input into this article.

Building termites out

I was recently called over to a client’s house to take a look at a pool deck that was installed a year previous using reclaimed wood that the supplier had advised was Ulin (Kalimantan ironwood).The deck was literally crumbling and on the surface showed evidence of rot and termite infestation. The installation had all the classic signs of bad building practices and what NOT to do in exterior wood applications!

The enemy of wood... subterranean termites

When building with timbers outside there are 3 main things that we must protect against:
1) Solar degradation, 2) Rot and 3) Termites. I will talk more about sun and rain in forthcoming newsletters, but for the moment lets focus on termites.

There is a myth that some timbers are termite proof, this is simply not true. Certainly some timbers like Ulin (Eusideroxylon zwageri) are less attractive to termites as their heartwood contains specific extractives that have anti decay and insect resistant characteristics. Untreated Ulin heartwood posts are expected to last 50 years in ground contact, giving this timber the distinction of being one of the most durable timbers in the world. For sure this timber is particularly unattractive to termites, but it is not true to say that it is immune to an eventual attack from termites.

The best way to stop termite infestation is by understanding how termites like to live and build things that don’t suit their lifestyle. Although termites need water, they can’t actually drink, instead they absorb it either through the food they eat, or through a waxy layer on their outer skin. Hence if you design your building so all timber is separated by a visual barrier from any water source, you will at least be able to see them coming and going from water to food and stop them in their tracks. A good example of visual barriers are:

  • Reinforced concrete slab with an exposed slab edge (that’s a slab with no cracks greater than 1.2mm (the width of a skinny termite). Termites will have to crawl over and around the slab, to go from water to food, hence you can just check your slab edge regularly.
  • Steel stirrups or shoes on the bottom of posts, so the steel enters the ground and not the timber
  • Flat metal sheet caps on top of the brick columns under your house. (known as Ant Caps). 
  • All of these measures are environmentally friendly work forever at no running cost and all you have to do is a regular inspection.

Most of the termites that attack buildings are subterranean termites, living underground, then coming up inside trees and houses to eat dead wood, getting their water from moist ground contact. Subterranean termites cant crawl about in the open and will have to build mud tunnels to protect them from the sun, making their intrusion into your house much easier to detect and treat. In the tropics we also have arboreal and air born termites that can fly into your home. Again though as before the golden rule is that they all need to gain access to water.

A common practice in Indonesia is to install timber decks and stairs directly onto concrete slabs. This builder had closed the edges of the steps with a small wall of concrete, which had the dual impact of not letting light and air in, and trapping water under the timber boards. This is a big no-no if you want to increase the life of your timber and avoid termites. Exterior timber really needs to be kept dry and be installed in a way that allows good airflow and access. This is particularly important in the tropics, where there is a relatively higher decay and inherent termite hazard than in the temperate zones. In this case, the termites had simply tunneled up from the slab and into the boards.

Remember it’s the combination of water and timber that cause most trouble, so design your house so the timber stays nice and dry and preferably out of the sun. And build your house so it’s comfortable for you to live in but not for termites. Darrin, who runs Termite Web, one of the best information hubs on termites around ( advises that we can learn a lot from traditional house building practices in the villages in Southeast Asia, as these communities these have co-existed with termites for hundreds and thousands of years. He reckons stilt building prevents 90% of common termite problems (subterranean termites), because it controls the entry points for termites very well.

Throughout the world there are many agents selling complicated systems for termite protection, including a great range of toxic chemicals and the like. These systems vary from outright stupid to out right dangerous, with a fair amount of crossover in between. Fancy visual barriers i.e. things that termites cant crawl through but must crawl round do work, but are often expensive and often a complex solution to a simple problem. When in doubt fall back on the good old fashioned three step rule:

1. Separate timber from water (including ground) with a visual barrier
2. Regularly check the visual barrier
3. If there is an infestation, bait the termites with a nice soft piece of timber soaked in an accumulative poison that they can take back home and feed the queen to kill off the hive. Killing off 1 or even 1 million termites won’t stop them, killing off their one queen will.

Another small eco-tip… world timber supplies would be much healthier if we simply used the right timber for the right application. So build that one-off handmade guitar out of some amazing beautiful rainforest timber, but don’t waste that timber making wood pulp for paper or packing crates! And use a good quality, preferable second hand exterior grade timber in an exterior application and try not to waste it on interior uses where a less resistant more common and perhaps even prettier timber will do.

By the way, we checked the termite infested timber that my client had installed and it turned out it was NOT ulin… it was a less-resistant Shorea species completely unsuitable for external applications!

For more information read “Building out Termites” by Robert Verkerk

Thanks to Dave Hodgkin and Darrin from Termite Web for help with this article.