The United States Department of Agriculture Forestry Service released a study that showed the demand for wood products in the U.S. is growing at twice the rate of the population. With this much pressure on the environment, measures have to be made to guarantee the life of both trees and the surrounding ecosystem in the future.
Sustainable wood farming ensures that the timber which becomes flooring is harvested using specific guidelines to ensure minimal damage to the ecosystem and resources available. It also ensures that the process can be continued through the future through planting new trees when one is felled.
Many organizations and entities in the United States and Canada, as well as several abroad, are compiling and enforcing numerous procedures to safeguard against unsustainable and harmful harvesting of timber. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) acknowledges more than 100 million acres of forest in the United States and Canada that are managed to their environmental, social, and economic criteria. Among the numerous standards set forth by the FSC, the "chain-of-custody" paper trail required from the time the tree is cut to the time it is laid on your floor provides physical proof of its expedition and legality.
Although the FSC is the most widely known program, there are numerous other organizations that implement and impose policies to protect the natural world. The SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) was founded by the American Forest and Paper Association and acts much like the FSC. There are so many similarities and minor differences that in 2001, the Meridian Institute released a report that offered an unbiased comparison of the two. The CSA International provides certification worldwide.
Two flooring options that are often forgotten are bamboo and reclaimed wood. Although it's technically a grass, bamboo is a popular source for sustainable hardwood because of its rapid renewal rate. Bamboo grows to harvestable maturity in only 3 years and doesn't require replanting. Reclaimed wood is another great option for sustainable flooring because it comes from previously used wood. Availability can be limited, though, so it may not be the best choice if you have a large area to cover.
If you are looking for true hardwoods to make your flooring from, birch, cherry, maple, and white oak all tend to be easy to sustain. With relatively short maturity lengths and ease of replanting, these hardwoods are easily grown and collected in earth friendly ways.
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Of course, most people wish to be as environmentally friendly as possible, and nowadays that is becoming more and more easy and cost-effective to do. With so many "green" options for you and your family to choose from, in almost every aspect of home improvement and remodeling, the possibility are endless! You don't have to sacrifice beauty or value either! Come talk to us about all the things that you can begin to implement in your own home!
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