Is cutting down trees really a good thing?
“Save the trees!”
It’s one of those phrases that most of us grew up with. We have been taught that there are no good ways to manage a forest, and cutting a single tree down will get you a nasty visit from Captain Planet. This thinking isn’t completely without merit. It really wasn’t until the later part of the 20th century that governments, business, and consumers really started putting responsible forestry practices into place.
Saving the planet one glorious mullet at a time!
Now we know not only is it ok to harvest trees, it actually has long term benefit on the earth’s climate. I’ll show you.
Let me tell you about my friend Jim.
Jim Gould is the president of a company called The Floor Covering Institute, and one of the smartest people I know when it comes to our industry. I’ve learned a lot from him over the years.
Jim Gould is President of The Floor Covering Institute. It’s rumored that he has consulted for Captain Planet in the past. A rumor that was in no way started by me just now…
Jim recently wrote an article for Floor Covering Weekly all about the true environmental impact of harvesting trees and using them as a building material (you should check it out).
I’ll summarize it for you, carbon dioxide (CO2) emission is one of the greatest contributors to climate change. Trees absorb CO2 and release oxygen, so trees are one of the best ways to offset carbon emissions.
Wait… so if trees are one of our better defenses against carbon emissions, isn’t cutting them down a bad thing?
Great question, you’re both attractive and smart! Here’s the thing, young trees absorb way more carbon than older trees, creating what’s called a “carbon sink,” because the younger trees are still growing. It’s essentially the same principle that sees your teenagers crush your monthly grocery budget.
Harvesting older trees (and planting new ones) creates space, sunlight and resources that let younger trees grow and flourish.
Here’s the other thing, old trees eventually die on their own (yes the circle of life applies to plants too, trees are not immortal). When they do they dry out, fall over and make great fuel for forest fires. All that carbon the tree stored over its lifespan is released when it’s burned, pretty much undoing all the good carbon sinking it did during its life. Inversely, cutting a tree down and milling it into flooring does not release its stored carbon.
A cartoon I drew myself. It does a great job showing how young trees are carbon sinks. It also does a great job showing why you should hire a professional illustrator…
Bottom line, wood flooring is the most sustainable flooring option in the world. Period. Not chemical based composites, not vinyl, not carpet (gross). Not even bamboo, but that’s for different reasons.
So if you are looking for the right type of flooring, keep the environmental impact in mind. Today Captain Planet would actually want you cut down trees, granted as long as you did it responsibly.
Revel Woods works only with suppliers who plant more trees than they harvest, meaning every floor you buy from Revel Woods not only improves the quality of your home, but also the quality of world we all live in, so thank you!