A Wood for all Seasons

The genetically rich Foreverbeech. An impressive new player in the chemical-free, health-based building niche has emerged in New Zealand with the unveiling of Foreverbeech™.

Article From "Timber and Design Australasia" 3rd Quarter Ed. 2012.

Not to be confused with the much softer European varieties, slow-growing native New Zealand red and silver beech (Nothofagus fusca and Nothofagus menziesii) are true hardwoods, with unique durability and versatility credentials.

Both species are being selectively harvested (90% by helicopter) from private forests on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island and marketed under the Foreverbeech™ brand– targeting the design and build, joinery and furniture markets.

New Zealand Sustainable Forest Products (NZSFP) is a new international joint venture aiming to return New Zealand beech to where it once dominated specification in the country's built environments.

Unquestionably the most versatile of New Zealand's native hardwoods, it grows very slowly in large forests on the rugged West Coast of the South Island – taking up natural silica in the local soils to produce a timber of rare colour and personality.

Foreverbeech™ really is the timber for all seasons, offering a minimum 25-year outdoor life expectancy without chemical treatments, and uses including:
• interior joinery
• furniture
• marine
• structural laminated beams
• engineered and solid floors
• exterior decking
• veneers and panel systems
• exterior cladding.

NZSFP's world-acclaimed forestry regime is a 'MAF certified forest management' operation, supported by cutting edge kiln drying and conversion capability, and New Zealand-wide distribution. (International availability is also likely.) All foreverbeech™ is selectively harvested (mostly by helicopter) from private forests in a 300 km area, with an average extraction of one tree per ha.

Health-based materials

NZSFP resource manager Brendan Horrell says the extensive New Zealand beech resource is incredibly well suited to sustainable forest management. He and wife Jolene have builtone of the homes featured here. "With a young family, we wanted a floor that not only looked good, but was also hard-wearing and easy-care.

"We also wanted something in harmony with the surrounding beech forest, with a real emphasis on health-based, natural materials. Foreverbeech exterior cladding, flooring and veneer partner so well with natural, colourless finishing oils."

Former Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Morgan Williams and wife Pam didn’t hesitate when choosing silver beech for window reveals and joinery and red beech as solid timber flooring (pictured). "The beech decision was largely about the aesthetics, performance and its sustainable origins. If you think beyond exotic timber or tree-based fibres, you can think about using the genetic richness we have in New Zealand. That’s basically what this house is all about."

Foreverbeech™ is proudly supported by: Hardie and Thomson (timber machining experts and stockists) www.hardiethomson.co.nz, Rosenfeld Kidson (architectural representatives) www.thetimbersource.co.nz and New Zealand Natural Timber (product specialists and stockists) www.nznaturaltimber.co.nz