Here in the US, we are as guilty as anyone of plundering the natural resources and we have always taken the lumber we need from our many huge forests, yet we all know this is not sustainable, even if you replace the harvested trees. There have been some serious progress in the field of lumber management, namely protected forests are not in the sights of the tree feller and when serious lumber is needed, it is harvested in a manner that will actually help the forest to prosper by allowing more sunlight to hit the ground using thinning strategies.
Take the leading lumber mill in Maryland, for example, where only approved lumber is processed into the interior and exterior timber materials and sold to builders and wholesalers alike. We have learned a lot from our northern neighbours about sustainable logging; Canada has a tree line, above which nothing grows, which limits their forests and they have perfected the technique of sustainable forest harvesting. A system they were happy to share with us and most US States adopted green strategies into timber management, ensuring that we protect the forests we have left.
Government Support for the Private Sector
The US government is dedicated to preserving the natural environment and they do support the private logging sector while ensuring that green practices are followed regarding timber harvesting. There is a good working relationship with state administrators and the private sector and this benefits us all, while the industry gets the quality timber it needs to provide us with everything we need. AI is also playing a part in this, as it is with the pharmaceutical industry.
Aside from sustainable timber harvesting, the lumber sector uses natural treatments to preserve the timber, avoiding harsh chemicals. There is a constant fine line between making a profit and being eco-friendly, but we are winning the war and as every year passes, we have new emerging tech that improves things.
The War with Composites
Timber has been in a long war with a range of composite materials and let’s be honest, nothing beats a solid hardwood floor. There is now engineered flooring, which is a merging of timber and composite, with real timber coating a composite core and this is cheaper than solid hardwood. Luxury vinyl took its share of the domestic flooring market, as did laminated flooring, yet the hardwood timber flooring sector is more than holding its own and is still a firm favourite.
Outside the US
Of course, each government has its own priorities and they don’t always reflect the will of the people, yet there is progress being made with governments protecting their natural forests. The price of lumber has been on the rise, which is due to both a drop in supply and an increase in demand, while in the Amazon, areas larger than a football field are cleared in a matter of minutes, as the demand for timber is ever-present.
The US government takes forest preservation very seriously and there is hope that we can save the natural resources we have left.
So, it’s not all doom and gloom with sustainable timber harvesting leading the way.
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