Nothing compares to the timeless beauty and durability of hardwood furnishings in a home. Natural materials like hardwoods are not only a renewable resource; studies confirm bringing natural materials into our indoor environments enhance peace, calm and well-being.
Aren’t we “killing trees?”
There’s a common misconception that the harvesting and widespread use of hardwoods for home construction and home furnishings, is a not an ecofriendly choice because it contributes to the depletion of forests and surrounding ecosystems.
Renewable, Abundant and Sustainable – hardwoods do what oil won’t, steel doesn’t, and plastic can’t…they grow back.
The truth is that through sustainable forest management, hardwoods can be used with minimal impact on the environment because American hardwoods are an abundant and renewable natural resource, meaning they grow back. Natural regeneration occurs when new seedlings or sprouts are produced by trees left on or near the them.
“North American Hardwoods are among the most plentiful and well-managed natural resources in the world,” said Chris Guth, Timber Resource Manager for Northwest Hardwoods, a premier manufacturer and distributor of hardwood lumber. “Hardwood forests naturally regenerate themselves and do not require planting, which makes responsibly-sourced wood the only renewable building material available,” said Guth.
According to Guth, the preferred method of harvesting is single-tree selection. This provides a sustainable supply and ensures the overall health of the forest – including water quality, ecosystems, wildlife habitats, biodiversity, watersheds and the trees themselves.
According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. hardwood forests are not only growing in size and timber volume, but existing forest management practices are contributing to enhanced forest health and diversity.
Nearly all commercial hardwoods in U.S. forests have demonstrated rapid growth in volume throughout the United States. In fact, the USDA notes that the forest is growing at a rate equal to the area of a soccer field every minute.
Another benefit to using wood over other materials is that the production and processing of wood uses much less energy – called embodied energy – than most other building materials. This gives wood products a significantly lower carbon footprint.
Northwest Hardwoods operates throughout the United States, primarily in the Appalachian, western and glacial (located in Wisconsin, Michigan and Northern Indiana) growing regions. By investing in best-in-class technology and processes, the company ensures the optimal use of valued hardwood resources and minimalizes waste.
Northwest Hardwoods adheres to strict due diligence procedures for procurement to ensure that the wood it processes meets the highest qualifications. We have Chain of Custody certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), the world’s largest forest certification standard promoting sustainable forest management through independent third-party certification. Chain-of-Custody certification traces the path of products from forests through the supply chain, verifying that FSC or PEFC-certified material is identified or kept separated from non-certified material throughout the chain.
More recently, we achieved Certified Appalachian status, a new certification program from the Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Inc (AHMI). All three forest certification programs work throughout the entire forest supply chain to ensure good forest practices and wood sourcing, taking a long-term rather than short-term approach to the use of the resource.
“Northwest Hardwoods can ensure that our timber is of high quality, “said Guth. Having high quality hardwoods as raw material produces valuable hardwood lumber for our customers. Our customers then use our lumber to create beautiful hardwood products,“ added Guth.