The world is becoming more and more aware of the importance of utilizing sustainable, renewable resources in all areas of life. Like many other industries, the furniture industry has been forced to look closely at what materials it utilizes and where those materials are sourced. Woods such as red oak, ash, and cherry are all popular options for flooring and furnishings, but are they good choices for the environment? The good news is that American hardwood is ethical, sustainable, and renewable.
A Long History of Hardwood
Since the very first European settlers arrived, hardwood has been utilized in furniture making. Hardwood forests are abundant along the eastern coast of North America and were a readily available resource for building homes and furnishings to fill them. Many of these furniture making traditions have survived for centuries and live on in contemporary practices such as those used by the Amish.
More than half of the continental United States supports hardwood forests. The entire eastern coastline from Maine to Florida and as far west as Texas, Kansas, and Nebraska are home to different species of hardwood trees. The Pacific Northwest also has its own hardwood forests. With such a large habitat, hardwood forests have flourished while still providing for a thriving lumber industry.
Sustainability, Renewability, and Environmental Impact
It might be surprising to learn that the harvesting of hardwood has a low environmental impact. Independent studies conducted by environmental experts have shown that American hardwood forests are actually increasing in size over the last sixty years. Trees may take many years to grow, but the efforts of environmentalists and the lumber industry have ensured that the resource has remained viable.
Hardwood is Carbon Neutral and Produces Minimal Waste Byproducts
Studies have confirmed that the carbon that is absorbed by hardwood forests far exceeds the carbon emissions associated with harvesting, processing, and transporting the lumber. This makes hardwood a carbon neutral resource. Additionally, waste byproducts of lumber processing are sold as fuel for boilers, as mulch or sawdust, or made into wood pellets to be used as a sustainable energy source.
Wood is as Green as it Gets
Wood is a truly green building material. Congress officially recognized hardwood as an environmentally responsible building material in 2010. Responsible forestry management leads to little or no impact from the lumber industry. In some instances, harvesting hardwood trees leads to improvements in forest vegetation and more diverse species of animals and plants.
Hardwood is the perfect option for furniture producers. There is no downside. The resource is sustainable, renewable, and ethical. The final product is versatile, durable, and beautiful. With the range of coloration and appearance of the different types of American hardwood the final product is something truly beautiful that will last for years to come. Furniture producers will not find a better option anywhere else.
Looking for sustainable furniture to complete your interior? Visit Amish Oak in Texas at either of our furniture showrooms in New Braunfels and San Antonio, TX, to see a selection of our solid wood Amish furniture. Our heirloom quality pieces will help give your style just the right touch.