As a designer, trees provide important materials, used extensively in the industry. From paper, fibers, cork, rubber, timber, tools, to turpentine. Some hints I keep in mind, which help me to be more of a conscious designer in this regard:
- making use of alien and/or invasive trees (and tree products)
- making use of tree species (and their products) that are abundant in my area
- or spreading out my usage, so not to exploit a certain tree specie
- making sure timber is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Certified
- making use of recycled timber
- designing in such a way which enables the reuse of materials
- paperless office?
- thinking twice (thrice, quadruple!) times before printing that construction plan for the 12th time!
- recycling / reusing (scrap paper, off-cuts etc)
- good design means minimizing (any) material usage (to build selectively with a small subset of elements)
(To be kept in mind also: yes one needs to use it consciously, but timber / wood products are one of the most sustainable resources, in comparison to other construction materials...)
As a biomimic and creative - the tree is a constant source of inspiration and lessons, too numerous too name. And while I'm at it, the importance of a tree as a permaculturist? Trees are food! Trees also provide homes and food for many animals in our life friendly perma system. They, very importantly, are wind breaks and create micro-climates, provide shade, aid in preventing soil erosion, and enrich the soil with their decaying leaves.
Trees are beautifully important gifts and wise mentors to be respected and appreciated.