For centuries, Real American Hardwood products have been providing beauty and authenticity, warmth and integrity, lasting aesthetic and functional value to countless structures in a variety of applications. As a resource, they are naturally abundant, renewing and sustainable, and an excellent choice for eco-effective design.
Growing trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and separate the carbon and oxygen atoms. They return the oxygen to the air, and use just the right amount of carbon to grow a trunk, branches, and leaves. This process reduces greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.
Other materials cannot say the same. Their manufacturing processes not only produce great amounts of carbon, they require great amounts of energy. The following chart compares the amount of energy required to produce one ton of cement, glass, steel, or aluminum to the production of one ton of wood.
Data from the USDA Forest Service shows that the average annual net growth of hardwood stock on U.S. timberland exceeds removals by a ratio of 2.485:1. In fact, the net volume of hardwood in American forests has increased by 131% since 1953. And over the past 30 years, U.S. forestland has grown by nearly 33 million acres. That’s equal to 2,275 football fields of growth…every day!
Some seedlings won't grow in the shade of mature trees, so removing mature trees opens up the forest canopy and allows light, water, and other resources to reach the forest floor so new trees can grow.
According to the USDA Forest Service, 58% of all U.S. forestland is privately owned by families (38%) and corporations (20%). National forests, as well as federal, state, and other public owners account for the remaining 42%.
In healthy, managed forests, hardwood trees reproduce naturally and prolifically from fallen seeds and even cut stumps. Foresters work with nature to ensure a sustained supply and ongoing replenishment. For example, a single oak tree can drop as many as 10,000 acorns in a year. While most end up as food for wildlife, those that survive can grow into trees.
In American hardwood forestry, the predominant harvesting method is single-tree selection. Foresters mark individual trees for removal based on a complex array of considerations. Clear-cutting is a common practice for softwood trees, because they are typically planted and farmed for specific purposes.
In a hardwood forest, trees compete for the water and sunlight, that come through the forest canopy—the leafy “roof” over the forest floor. Single-tree selection reduces this competition. Carefully removing individual trees creates openings in the canopy, allowing more precipitation, sunlight and nutrients to reach the forest floor. No longer suppressed by larger trees, seedlings are free to grow vigorously and saplings sprout out of the tree stumps. A few years later, the forester returns to the site to remove the least-desirable saplings, allowing the hardiest to grow.
Left unmanaged, forests are plagued with multiple problems that can cause catastrophic wildfires. Not only are they a threat to public safety, they also “impair” forest and ecosystem health and severely degrade air quality. And while fire is a natural part of the forest’s ecosystem, a raging wildfire is not. A “controlled burn” can help to make the land stronger and more resilient. But it must be combined with the proper application of land management.
Most hardwood forestland in the continental United States is in the eastern half of the country; the equivalent of hardwood trees covering every square inch of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia. It is the home of the oaks, maples, cherry, ash, poplar, and scores of other hardwood species, many of which grow nowhere else in the world.
Of all temperate forests in the world, North American forests have the most diverse hardwood species. They vary in appearance and durability, with some species more plentiful than others because of their natural occurrence.
Once trees are harvested and taken to the sawmill for primary processing, advanced manufacturing technology ensures the least wood waste and greatest yield of lumber. More than 3 million products are made from trees and every part of the log is utilized.
Tree bark is processed into mulch and soil conditioners.
Saw dust fuels the boilers that operate dry kilns or is sold for animal bedding.
Trimmings are chipped and processed into fuel pellets, paper and other products.
Small pieces of wood are recovered and processed into wood components.