Hardwood Buying Decisions - Logging and the Environment
While hardwood floors are gorgeous and they can add to the value of a home, there are some things to consider specific to hardwood and logging when you are making a purchase decision. Timber used for making hardwood floors, cabinetry, furniture, and other items comes from various parts of the world. For instance, one of the largest logging sites in the entire world is the Yangtze River port out of Asia. However, hardwood and logging is also associated with the Congo, Russia, and even different parts of the Amazon.
Of course, when looking at hardwood and logging, it is important to look for quality wood if you want pieces that will last a lifetime. Sure, there are any different types of woods and quality levels but spending a little extra on good wood vs not so good is often an investment worth making. The drive for purchasing quality wood is an important factor is buying decisions, but this can have some adverse consequences in other parts of the world.
Many consumers around the world are interested in hardwood and logging from a consumer's point of view. Without doubt people in the United States are one of the biggest purchasers. Many people also want to purchase quality wood but also do not want spend a lot of money. For example, hardwood logged out of Asia is often excellent wood. In addition, lower costs and fewer controls on logging make the price is something most people can afford.
When purchasing hardwood for building or items already made, be sure to look for less obvious costs. Unfortunately, while the logging costs passed onto the consumer might not be high, sometimes manufacturing companies will add additional costs like processing, shipping, finishing, or shaping. These costs can raise total the price of wood beyond what the consumer might otherwise be willing to pay.
Of course, one of the primary concerns over hardwood and logging goes beyond quality and price. Today, there are many rainforests that have virtually been stripped, leaving the environment in a bad state. With natural resources being chopped down, a large part of the world has been impacted. Because of this, we now see many environmentalist and logging companies trying to find ways of still meeting the high demand of hardwood but without doing damage to forests.
Many companies today (but not all) have programs in place to replant trees that have been cut down. Thanks to pressure from organization, governments, and some consumers, companies have put these programs in place. This is a good thing to do, but it is not enough. The challenge here is that for aged and quality hardwood, it takes hundreds of years for the trees to grow to maturity. Unless something more is done specific to hardwood and logging, experts estimate that some of the highest producing forests such as those in New Guinea will be expired within 15 years. However, there are some types of woods that can be harvested in a matter of five years while still providing consumers with a gorgeous end product.
There are several alternative hardwoods that are better for the environment, produce quality hardwood, and may be more sustainable. For instance, bamboo has now become one of the most popular hardwood logging products on the market. In addition to bamboo growing quickly so the environment does not experience long-lasting damage, this particular wood is also stunning in appearance and it is hardy and strong.
From the consumer standpoint, there are options of going green, which means using wood such as bamboo that can grow back more quickly. Also, consumers can purchase products that are made of hardwood that has been recycled. This way the consumer still gets high quality hardwood without the devastating results to the environment that are currently happening in many countries. The other alternative for consumers is to not use hardwood, but instead use an alternative that involves a process that does not compromise the environment.
While government regulations and pressure from environmental groups can help save forests and raise awareness for environmental issues, it is not enough. Consumers must become more knowledgeable about the hardwood that they are purchasing, where is it harvested, and how it is harvested. In a market economy, if these things become important to consumers, then the companies that log and distribute hardwood products will modify their practices to comply with consumer expectations and demands.