Climate Change, Sustainability, Salvage & Ecological Protection
Wood is no longer in abundance like it once was before the boom of the Industrial Revolution’s forest harvesting. Humanity is now embracing the ecological equivalent to newly harvested wood through reclaimed and salvaged wood. Our growing carbon footprint presents the opportunity to respect and protect our remaining forests in tandem with making conscientious and sustainable choices with our personal and commercial construction, and interior design needs.
Old Growth Wood
Old growth wood is usually anything over 200 years old. Untouched by human hands, and over hundreds of years, trees grew older, larger, and stronger than those we see today. Forest density, competition from neighboring trees, and limited light caused trees to grow tightly packed rings.
For each year’s cycle of the seasons, a new tree ring grows. Old-growth wood has nearly ten times the number of growth rings per inch than fast growing trees, thereby producing its beneficial density.
Working with old growth wood remnants offers many benefits:
- Rot, decay and damage resistant.
- Beautiful layers of heartwood at the center.
- Stronger and denser providing longer term durability from the effects of expansion and contraction due to moisture.
- Termite resistant since it’s tougher to eat through.
- Reparable and suitable for high traffic areas of construction and décor.
By the time of the industrial revolution almost all old growth trees were cut down in the United States. Following, tree farms were then introduced focusing on cultivating fast growing crops like pine to accommodate the supply and demand.
Where to Find Old Growth Wood
Online research provides a bounty of resources. To name a few, find unused old growth, reclaimed and salvaged wood through companies like these, many of which ship nationwide:
Find both reclaimed and salvaged wood décor, installations, flooring, and furniture at places like these:
- Urban Reclamations WA (also available through ReCapurit)
- Olde Wood Limited OH
- Gleman & Sons FL
- Goodwin Heart Pine FL
Appreciate and Protect Old Growth Forests
In between construction projects, a visit to ancient forests offers appreciation for the beauty and perspective on the importance of protecting these sacred places. There are but a few ancient old growth forests and old growth trees left in the world and fortunately protected.
Methuselah is a Great Basin bristlecone pine tree rooted in the bristlecone pine forests in White Mountains of Inyo County, California. At almost 5,000 years old, it the oldest known tree on the planet, dating back before the Egyptian pyramids.
A visit to the Redwood National and State Park Forests in California, home to the tallest trees left in the world, presents a glimpse into the past of what the first settlers may have felt encountering a forest of massive towering trees.
Sustainability and Saving Old Growth We Have Left
One step in taking care of our planet is in protecting the ancient forests and supporting the organizations in their stewardship. Not only will we save breathtaking forests to enjoy for future generations to come, but also these forests are part of the natural carbon sequestering cycle.
The more we protect forests from devastation, like the Amazon, often referred to as the earth’s lungs, the more we help the planet combat the massive carbon footprint we as humans generate annually. Thus we also support the ecological health and biodiversity of the planet.
Make Eco-Friendly Buying, Building, and Removal Choices
Whenever possible with home, décor and construction projects, consider using salvaged, reclaimed, beautiful, old growth wood. Or support young growth suppliers who are also replanting and reforesting in their consumption wake.
And then there’s the waste, the unwanted, and the deconstruction. Avoid dumping furniture and architectural salvage in landfills. Do your part for the planet. Don’t burn the wood. Don’t dump it. Gift it. Donate it. Pass it on! “Do what is right. Not what is easy,” Roy T Bennett.