Sustainability of North American Hardwoods

Renewable. Biodegradable. Sustainable.

Sustainability is our Superpower

The concept of sustainability in the hardwood lumber industry, particularly in the context of sustainable forestry, is indeed multifaceted. It goes beyond the common perception of planting more trees than harvesting and preserving habitats for recreation. The sustainable hardwood story involves ensuring a flourishing and thriving forest, allowing trees to replenish naturally at a pace that supports an exponentially renewable increase.

One crucial aspect highlighted is the role of deciduous trees in carbon sequestration. These trees, both in natural forests and urban settings, absorb significant amounts of carbon, contributing to carbon sequestration. The carbon absorbed is then retained in the wood products for extended periods, ranging from decades to centuries. This carbon sequestration aspect adds an environmental benefit to hardwood products.

Moreover, when the useful life of hardwood products comes to an end, they can be burned for energy or disposed of, leading to biodegradation. This end-of-life cycle further emphasizes the sustainability of solid hardwood, as it minimizes the environmental impact.  With the lowest carbon footprint material, hardwood has a compelling super sustainability story – one that emphasizes natural growth, carbon sequestration, and responsible end-of-life practices.

This section of our website is dedicated to sharing the facts about the sustainability of North American hardwoods. The U.S. hardwood resource is mainly located in the east from Maine in the North to the Gulf of Mexico in the South, and westwards across to the Mississippi Valley. Today, North America is home to more temperate hardwood species than any other region of the world.

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Hardwood Benefits

North American hardwoods are incredibly important to our economy and our planet. Hardwood products offer a sustainable solution for building materials, homes, furniture, and much more. The economic impact of the hardwood industry is best illustrated in the Economic Impact Study.

Explore the environmental profile of North American hardwoods in more detail using the American Hardwood Export Council’s online tools:

American Hardwood Forest Explorer

This interactive map provides detailed information on hardwood forest volume, growth, and harvest at the state and county level throughout the United States.

American Hardwood Environmental Profile

is an interactive tool for AHEC members providing environmental impact data such as carbon footprint, forest replenishment time, acidification, and eutrophication for different species, lumber thicknesses, and transport scenarios.

NHLA Member Sustainablity

NHLA offers its members the Sustainability Verification Certificate to help understand and answer questions regarding the sustainability of North American hardwoods. Learn more about getting your SVC today!

Video Resources

Our Video Assets provide a fun way to learn more about the variety and sustainability of North American hardwoods.

Sustainability of North American Hardwoods video resources image

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