The Wood Shoppe - #6 Chessboards: Responsible Harvesting of Hardwoods

Feb 1, 2011, 6:57 AM |

The Wood Shoppe - #6 Chessboards: Responsible Harvesting of Hardwoods












The importance of conservation and responsible forest management cannot be overemphasized.  While this segment should put to rest any concerns over harvesting timber in America, it should also raise concern about the use of hardwoods in those parts of the world that remain unregulated.  Responsible wood products manufacturers seek out only responsible suppliers, those that are committed to the sustainability of forested lands, not only for the sake of wildlife, but also to guarantee the future for human consumption.

Multiple sources indicate that 90% of the homes built in the United States are of wood frame construction; According to 2009 USEPA estimates*,  the average American uses the equivalent of one 100 ft. tall Douglas fir tree in paper and wood products each year, 68 million tons of paper and paperboard products.  Our consumption of wood and wood products is staggering, enough so to raise serious concerns.  But we are in control.

Two key elements allow us to continue.  Recycling in America has become a way of life and is incredibly effective.  Additional 2009 statistics by the EPA* indicate that we recycle 89% of newspapers, 81% of corrugated, 74% of office paper, 54% of magazines, and 37% of telephone directories.  As a nation, we conserve our natural resources in a most responsible manner, and for all the right reasons.

The other key element is 'responsible forest management', which encompasses 'replacing what you harvest with new seedlings'.  This is especially important in the hardwood sector.  While the amount of hardwood that is salvaged and used for other purposes is on the rise, it's fair to say that in comparison to the softwood sector, recycling of hardwoods is minimal, therefore dependence on responsible forest management is paramount.  To this end, a number of agencies including 'The National Hardwood Lumber Association', 'The Forest Stewardship Council', and 'The Hardwood Forest Foundation', work alongside American manufacturers and the American public to protect the future of  our hardwood forests.  Increasingly, American hardwood manufacturers seek FSC certified hardwoods; this certification guarantees that the lumber has been harvested from a sustainable resource.

The reader should take some level of comfort from these statistics offered by 'The USDA Forest Service'.**

·         Forested land in America covers 747 million acres, or 33% of the total U.S. land area and 8.8% of global forested land.

·         Private land owners, roughly 10 million, own 58% of the forested land, 29% is publicly owned, and 13% is owned by the forest products industry.

·         25% of the land (504 million acres) is available to produce commercial forest products. 

·         Net forest growth surpasses harvest by 47%.

·         Each year, 1.6 billion trees are planted in the United States, about 6 for every 1 that we use.

·         More trees are growing in America's forests today than at any other time since the 1890's.

·         Standing timber volume per acre in the U.S. forests today is 30% greater than in 1952.

·         Forest growth rates in commercial forests outpace harvest plus loss to insects and disease by 33%.


For those that are sensitive and caring about the wildlife habitat (and I am one), I would reiterate that 'standing timber volume per acre in U.S. forests today is 30% greater than 60 years ago'.  Responsible forest management combined with responsible recycling practices are a win-win for humanity and nature as well. 



US Forest Facts and Historical Trends

In the next section, our focus will be on proper curing techniques.

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