A television advertisement for Nikon UK Ltd has raised a storm of protest from the timber industry and the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) has lodged a complaint with the Independent Television Commission (ITC).

The advert shows a timber yard with the caption ‘The last rainforest’ which the TTF says is ‘a clear implication that the timber industry is responsible for tropical deforestation and that the world’s rainforests are about to cease to exist’.

TTF head of public affairs Mark O’Brien said: ‘This advertisement is based on a complete distortion of the facts and is unfairly damaging to the UK timber importing sector which sources its timber from legal and well-managed sources, mainly from Scandinavia and North America.’

The advert is also seen as an unfair comment on the environmental commitment of the UK tropical timber trade specifically, which accounts for around 8% of the country’s wood imports.

But a spokesperson for Nikon UK, Jeremy Gilbert, said: ‘The advert is based on potential future moments and is not meant to say whether it is good or bad for timber to be used.

‘The image will mean different things to different people. If there is a message out there it is to use softwood, not hardwood.’

Alan Robinson of Robinson Timber and Terry Bagley of the Panel Agency both contacted TTJ to complain about the advertisement.

They also pointed out that the timber pictured was not from tropical rain forests. It is thought to be either Russian or Baltic softwood.

The TTF is waiting for a formal response from the ITC about the advert, which has been transmitted on ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and some satellite channels.