Welcome to World Wood Day 2024 Virtual Event Upcoming Streaming

Wood is undeniably the most versatile raw material found in nature and made available to humanity for its various structural and non-structural products or applications in human society. Our world’s diverse terrestrial environment being clearly distinct between geographical regions, ranging from the warm tropics to the cool temperate climes where tree growth occurs, is therefore home to a multitude of forest tree species distinctly adapted to differing climates such that no same wood species grows across all regions. With forest ecosystems differing between regions, unique utilisable forest tree species are only grown in that region of the world. For example the famed tropical hardwood Belian (=Borneo Ironwood) is unique only to the Bornean humid tropics of Sarawak, Sabah and Kalimantan, and is a well-renown commercial timber for its exceptional strength (structural value), natural durability (remarkable resistance against wood destroying termites and rot fungi which assure an unusually long service life even as ground-contact wooden structures) has almost no equivalent in wood quality elsewhere. Since the dawn of human civilization, humanity from different regions have embraced wood products harvested from tree species found only in their regions and have come to treasure and appreciate the native woods they utilise in society which becomes part of their cultural heritage and historical value. Evidence of ancient/historical accounts of wood utilization are aplenty; examples such as the famed Biblical description of Noah’s use of an unknown acacia wood species for constructing a massive wooden ark brushed over with some kind of water-resistant oil-based compound, ancient Phoenician civilization that originate in the Levant region on the eastern Mediterranean (around present-day Lebanon) developed expansive maritime trade over a millennium due to their wide use of cedar wood in shipbuilding, while much later, historical use of oak woods found in much of Europe for warships of the English or Spanish armada are also well-known, and ancient Mayans of central American region has used wooden beams in temples. Indeed through constant use of particular wood species for essential products beneficial to various societies around the world, such wood products, especially larger constructions, would thus be valued as part of human culture (contemporary or historical) in various regions for their distinct architectural beauty and acceptance.

How and why a particular wood species is processed and used by various societies over millennia is closely connected to the cultural heritage of each society while realising a challenge to define wood quality in relation to target wood products. Wood is what it is because it is formed from trees, and to understand wood is to understand how trees produce wood. Cultural appreciation of wood should thus incorporate much cultural appreciation of trees and forest types with the hope that sustainable forest management and forest rehabilitation activities persist to ensure sustainable supply of much-needed wood to society. Wood suitable for pulp and paper-making or fuelwood may not be useful structural material, for example. Indeed understanding wood properties of various woods of the world is essential to efficient utilisation of wood products providing informed choices for non-structural and structural uses. Unlike before, contemporary societies have developed wood and fibre science technologies to explore deeply into wood (as well as wood composite) quality of various wood species which reinforces man’s understanding and classification of woods for specific applications and such knowledge also reinforces man’s cultural/sociological appreciation of wood. Since ancient use of natural durable woods in construction, wood protection technologies are being developed to enhance biological resistance of previously low natural durability wood species (and related composite materials) for longer-term uses thus extending the range of other reasonably strong wood species available for structural applications and this has important economic and cultural implications.

Similarly, a diversity of non-wood forest products have also been available among various cultures around the world. There is much interest also in traditional knowledge from forests unique to particular societies around the world (for example basketry and other weaved products, tree bark products, traditional medicinal plant products, edible fungi, latex and extractives from trees, wildlife and fruits). Also the future availability of organic-based products from wood lignin, cellulose and hemicelluloses seems certain, eventually translating into new wood cultural experience to society for such new-generation forest-based products. While mankind continues to explore, value and cherish a diversity of wood and other products from the forest as an intrinsic part of their lives, in time such sustained use and appreciation of these products would naturally become part of their cultural identity. The 2024 World Wood Day and Symposium theme “Diversity of Wood in Culture” celebrates the connection of wood and other forest-based products with people of different cultures.


WWD 2024 Symposium - Opening Speech by Dr. John Parrotta, President of IUFRO

11 Apr, 2024
Opening speech given by Dr. John Parrotta, President of IUFRO at 2024 World Wood Day Online Symposium and The Sixth IUFRO Forest Products Culture Colloquium.

WWD 2024 Symposium - Opening Speech by Dr. Howard Rosen

11 Apr, 2024
Opening speech given by Dr. Howard Rosen, Chairs of the International Wood Culture Society and World Wood Day Foundation at 2024 World Wood Day Online Symposium and The Sixth IUFRO Forest Products Culture Colloquium.

Rose - RunAway

08 May, 2024
A music video depicting a woman trying to runaway and find a sacred safe haven for herself in the woods. The video was shot at the Sequoia National Park in California.

World Wood Day