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5 Types of Sustainable Wood

Updated: Apr 1, 2022

Wood is a preferred choice for many when it comes to consumer products or building material. For starter, it is a natural resource which is renewable, has a low carbon footprint and recyclable. Moreover, there is an element of aestheticism and it can be used for artwork too.

Consumers and manufacturers can play their part in stopping climate change by using wood rather than other material. Natural wood products play a critical role in reversing climate change. As young trees grow, they remove carbon (a greenhouse gas emissions) from the air and store it while releasing oxygen. When the mature trees are harvested, the carbon remains stored in this physical entity, and new trees are grown for the continuation of this cycle. We will be sharing 5 types of woods which are easily available and sustainable.

Red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) is a species of juniper native to the North America and Mexico. It’s a dense and slow-growing coniferous evergreen tree that produce a fragrant smell. In some parts of US, eastern juniper is commonly used as a Christmas tree. Red Cedar has a high level of tannin that make them insect and rot resistance. They are resistant to weather and temperature condition, hence suitable for making outdoor products. Red Cedar is considerably more expensive than other type of wood. They do not need to be stained and fades to a weathered grey over the years.

Real Cedar is a sustainably managed resource and is a major building material. For every tree harvested there are at least three replanted. The replanting effort has been so rapid that the total forest land base in North American has grown 20% since 1970.

Pará rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) produce rubberwood, a light color tropical hardwood. Rubber Tree is well known for producing the milky white sap, known as latex. This latex is used for the production of all rubber-based products around the world. Products such as tires, rubber bands, medical glove, mattresses etc.

Rubber plantation trees are harvested for wood when they are around 25 years old, this is where the latex production become low. The trees are then felled, and young trees are planted. The wood is then treated to make them suitable for furniture making. A key advantage of rubberwood is their relatively low cost and ease of working via hand and machine.

Rubberwood is not suitable for outdoor use due to fungus and insect attacks. Excessive moisture will also cause the wood to warp and rot. On average the rubberwood can give you around 15 to 25 years of furniture use. An example of rubberwood product – Step stool.

Pine tree (Pinus) is a softwood tree and they grow around the world. They are fast growing tree species hence you can find commercial pine grown in plantation. The pine plantation is normally harvested after 25 years, although some can grow up to 50 years old due to their increasing commercial value.

Pine wood is lightweight, resistance to shock and easy to work with, hence popular for furniture and carpentry work. As they are not rot or insect resistant, the pine needs to be treated for outdoor purpose. As pine tree require less time to grow, growers are able to sell the wood at a lower price. Pine trees grow well on plantations with little impact on natural habitats, whereas oak used in furniture typically comes from old growth forests. Some examples of pine wood product – Tree swing.

Chinese Fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata) is a native to China, Vietnam and Laos. They are a fast-growing tree species and resistant to insects and rot. The light color wood is a softwood, straight-grained and fragrant.

They are commonly used for reforestation program and agroforestry systems in China, as it is usually intercropped with a range of crops species. The interplanting is important for increasing the income of farmers and to avoid the land degradation that comes from continuous cropping of the Chinese Fir. You can frequently find them planted in areas where there are temples or monastery too.

Chinese Fir is strong, durable and easy to work with. This lightweight wood is used for housebuilding, furniture, flooring and coffins. Produce a similar smell to Coast Redwood. Example of Chinese Fig products - Birdhouse

Bamboo (Gramineae: Bambusoideae) is a unique species among the 5 species mentioned as they are a grass, not a tree. The German Botanist, Charles Kunth first released his taxonomic findings in 1815. Of all grasses, bamboo is the only one that can diversify into forest and can be found on 5 continents: Africa, Asia, South America, North America and Australia.

Bamboos are some of the fastest growing plants on Earth. Some species can grow up to 1 inch every 40 minutes. Because of their rapid growth rate and ability to thrive on marginal land, they are commonly used for afforestation and carbon sequestration program.

Some of their characteristics are their extreme durability. Their outer layer stem is dense, strong and flexible. Bamboo is impact resistance and have a higher tensile strength than steel! As a result, bamboo are used for a wide variety of purpose especially in Asia. E.g. paper making, housing, scaffolding, food source and making of consumer products!

Another unique feature of bamboo is that many of the bamboo species flower infrequently and unpredictably. Many species only flower at intervals as long as 65 or 120 years before they die in their entirely. To maximize the chance of pollination, all separate plants of the same species will flower in that year; so a large area will have bamboo plants of exactly the same age. Some examples of bamboo product – Tray Table

Emerging Green is a small family business that focuses on home and outdoor products, we prioritize functionality and sustainability. 70% of our products are made of environmentally friendly material and we are striving to do better here. One of our goals is to substitute daily consumer products with greener alternatives. Learn more about us here.

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