You can select “standard” format or “aside” format on the right. Frankly, after the miles of oil palm it was hard to imagine anything bigger than a house cat surviving there, let alone herds of elephants. That night, we met informally with some World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) staff at a local guesthouse. They excitedly explained the ambitious plan of the world’s most recognizable conservation group to preserve wildlife in Borneo from an unprecedented onslaught of logging, mining, and oil palm. They handed me a glossy booklet filled with gorgeous photographs of charismatic Bornean wildlife frolicking and local people looking happy. Dubbed the Heart of Borneo project, WWF along with the three governments on the island planned to safeguard a region spreading over 23 million hectares and owned by three countries. The plan wasn’t to turn the area — larger than Great Britain — into a park, but instead into a sustainably managed landscape, something decidedly novel that involved partnering with the palm oil, logging, and mining industries to achieve. It would be a place, they claimed, where wildlife and indigenous groups could thrive. A big chunk of Borneo might just remain ecologically whole. Tropical timber has earned a bad reputation. When we think of timber from lush, tropical forests, it conjures up images of valuable old-growth trees pillaged by logging companies and illegal timber mafias, ignoring the plight of wildlife and local communities. But tropical timber does not have to be bad, some experts say. Tropical wood forms an integral part of many of our daily-use products, like furniture, toilet paper, flooring, construction, and packaging material. And this important resource can be harvested from forests responsibly and sustainably, experts say, ensuring that we meet our future wood needs while conserving forests. “When you speak about tropical forests with anybody, my mom or whoever, it’s always corruption, it’s always blood, it’s always stealing, it’s always dirty. Nobody wants tropical timber anymore,” Paolo Cerutti, a senior scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) who has been working on sustainable forest management in sub-Saharan Africa, told Mongabay. “But that is bad because we can harvest the forest in a way that is clean and proper and sustainable.” It is this need for “clean” timber that gave birth to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) — a voluntary, worldwide certification program formed in 1993 by a group of environmentalists, indigenous groups, human rights organizations, and timber users and traders. The FSC, headquartered in Bonn, Germany, hopes to change the way forests are managed.