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"Got Wood" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dick Starkey   
Monday, 02 June 2008

(A note, the writer is a  co-owner of a small tree farm in Greenfield.)

The question seen on a bumper sticker, “Got Wood” is very relevant in terms both of energy independence and the environment – Climate Change. There are numerous studies that effectively demonstrate that growing trees can help reduce carbon in the air – carbon sequestion. The storing of carbon by trees is well known. What we forget is that when the tree dies or is cut for lumber, some of that stored carbon is lost. If on the other hand trees are selectively harvested for wood house framing, furniture and related uses, some of that carbon remains stored for the life of the product. Using wood for buildings saves two times or more energy than the use of steel, aluminum or concrete. (By the way, the process of manufacturing cement is a major contributor to the release of carbon dioxide in North America.) If we want to contribute to reducing carbon emissions we should use wood as much as possible.

Products made of plastic use another form of carbon, petrochemicals, oil. The use of oil to manufacture plastic contributes to much of our high rate of oil consumptrion in this country. If the next lawn chair you buy is made of wood rather that plastic, you will be storing some carbon for the life of the chair, reducing the consumption of oil we import and keeping the end life of plastic out of the landfill. The tree is a renewable resource – oil isn’t.

And, by the way, in addition, by buying wood you help the woodland owner recoup some of the costs involved in maintaing the woodland.  (Read taxes and possible management fees.) Keep our woodlands productive helps improve the water quality in our lakes, streams and rivers, reduces erosion and importantly, provides for wildlife.

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