Not only is wood durable, it’s recyclable and biodegradable. Producing construction materials out of steel and concrete consumes excessive amounts of energy and water and generates carbon dioxide – the key cause of global warming that fuels dangerous climate change. For every pound of hardwood created, 1.4 pounds of carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and one pound of oxygen is produced. And carbon that’s captured remains locked in trees a long time - until it either decays or burns. A 2011 USDA study concluded that due to the environmental benefits and advantages of wood, it should be “a major component of American building and energy design.”
North America’s hardwood forests stretch from southeastern and south central Canada into northern New England and westward along the Great Lakes, all the way to Minnesota. Hardwood trees can also be found at high elevations in the southern Blue Ridge Mountains which stretch from North Carolina through Virginia and into Maryland. At 5000 feet, the climate in the Blue Ridge range is similar to that of the northern states and southern Canada, where hardwoods flourish.
Until the early 1900s total U.S. forest land was in steady decline, as forests were regularly converted to farmland. But thanks to efficient and thoughtful natural resource management, annual new growth of U.S. forests has outpaced annual consumption since the 1940s. (source: hardwoodforest.org). All North American hardwood in existence today equates to about 75 years of demand. Better yet, each year that projection extends. In 2008 the USDA reported that each year we harvest only about half of the new hardwood stock added during the year.
To ensure that North American forests are grown and harvested in a
sustainable manner, the FSC recommends that: