Imperfect, Perfect Lumber: Lumber Continually Gives, Part 2

logging treesIn Part 1, we looked at some of the ways that the lumber industry truly gives back to us, on a global level, largely because of the biosequestration process. Here in Part 2, we’re going to continue to unpack the dynamics of how not only trees, but also the lumber industry in particular, benefits the ecosystem.

The Significance of Economics

Without monetary value, forests will not continue — which is precisely why cattle ranching is a major factor in deforestation. And by major, we’re talking 65-70% of global deforestation! Small scale agriculture accounts for the next-biggest slice of the pie at 20-25%, followed by large-scale agriculture at 10-15%, for a total of 95% or more due to repurposing of forest covered land for alternative means of revenue.

sawmill moving logsRegardless of the environmental significance of forests, if the lumber has no economic value, land owners are essentially forced to transform the land into some other form of revenue-producing aim. Like the Yasuni-ITT initiative in Ecuador proved, with no means of revenue, even the most gorgeous, untouched areas cannot be sustained.

The Benefits of Sustainable, Renewable Resources

In addition to the lumber industry’s offering value to rain forests, along with the benefits of forestry management, it has every incentive to keep forests going. As a renewable resource, replanting is a major aspect of the forestry management associated with lumber industry. Not only does replanting offer more potential for lumber in the future, it also impacts the environment.

log in sawmillThe more lumber is harvested, the more trees are planted, and the more sequestering of Carbon takes place. Yes, even more than if the original trees were left standing. Why? More Carbon is sequestered by growing trees than by mature trees; in fact, as valuable as they are in other ways, old growth forests actually offer a net loss of Carbon. When you consider the fact that harvested trees that make way for new growth continue to give back to the environment, you realize that the cycle of cutting down trees and planting new ones is quite beneficial.

The Recurring Benefits of Reclaimed Lumber

It’s not just live trees standing in forests that promote a healthy ecosystem: Lumber gives back to its environment until it completely decays. The trend toward reclaimed lumber allows lumber that’s already hundreds of years old to continue its legacy of generosity that goes beyond aesthetics and cost savings. Re-purposed lumber continues to offer the same contribution to the environment as it did during its original use. Unlike manufactured or composite materials, every board foot of lumber will eventually naturally decay and return to the soil, instead of indefinitely taking up landfill space.

So here’s the bottom line: If you’re looking for truly green building materials that continually give back to all living things around the globe, look no further than your local lumber yard.

Read the Entire Series

J Gibson McIlvain truck by stacked wood

J Gibson McIlvain truck by stacked wood

J. Gibson McIlvain Company

Since 1798, when Hugh McIlvain established a lumber business near Philadelphia, the McIlvain family has been immersed in the premium import and domestic lumber industry. With its headquarters located just outside of Baltimore, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company ( is one of the largest U.S. importers of exotic woods.

As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian museums.

Contact a representative at J. Gibson McIlvain today by calling (800) 638-9100.

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